Gilding is the application of a thin layer of Gold, Silver or other metal to a prepared surface.

There are two distinctive methods of Gilding.

Oil Gilding:

The metal leaf, usually 23-Karat yellow Gold is the most commonly used. The surface is prepared with gold size and when tacky the leaf is carefully applied. This process is quicker and often used for exteriors and interior designs such as walls or cornices.

Water Gilding:

Water Gilding is a more complex process. It requires great craftmanship, many more preparations.

The surface must be prepared with great care and all the steps have to be perfect .These are:

Gesso: Mixture of whiting, rabbit skin glue and water. Several layers are necessary, then rubbed down to produce a soft surface.

Bole: Clay mixed with rabbit skin glue is then painted on the surface. Again several layers are necessary. There are different colours of clay, each chosen according to the finish desired.

Water Gilding: Each leaf is positioned on the surface one by one using water as a binder. When dry, the leaves are burnished with an agate stone.The gold will become very bright and beautiful.

Finishes: There are too many to mention but in general if the look of the frame has to be old then the gold will be distressed using pigments, water colours etc.. For a Contemporary look then the gold can just be left burnished or slightly distressed to show the colour of the bole underneath.