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Using Gold Leaf

Has anyone used gold leaf on there jewelry? If so I would love to hear the pros & cons.
Thanks, Lisa

I’ve used gold foil sold for keum boo, which I’m told is similar to gold leaf, but not identical. When cut from the larger square the pieces are so lightweight that they fly away at the slightest hint of a breeze. Even your breath can send it flying, never to be found again. Make sure you work in a clean secure area.

Gold leaf is MUCH thinner than gold foil. It is too thin to use for keum
boo-- it will sink into the silver and just create a slightly yellow area
that will take patina less intensely. This might have its uses but it’s an
expensive way to create a very slight contrast.


Thank-you so much mdpartian for your reply! When you use the gold foil in this manner do you have to seal it with anything?



Thanks for the info. I’m glad to know if I use gold leaf it will be a waste of my time!


I used gold leaf to cover the back of a large faceted citrine. The citrine was not sufficiently deep to properly reflect light from the rear facets so I decided to use gold leaf as a mirror backing.
I used the water gilding technique which consists of dissolving a gelatine capsule in hot water, then painting the area to be gilded with the solution. It looks and feels exactly like water. The gold leaf is then picked up with a gilder’s pick (if you try using your fingers it is so thin it disintegrates into dust) and carefully draped onto the work piece, where is seems to be sucked on. After drying it is remarkably tenacious and very difficult to remove from areas where its not wanted.
It made a really good mirror and greatly enhanced the appearance of the stone.

Pictures please

Gary, what a great idea for your citrine. I have never heard of using gelatin and water so I will definitely give that a try.
Thanks so much for responding.

Here are some photos showing the (white) gold leaf as first

applied to the back of a 30mm citrine, the rear of the brooch containing the citrine, and the front of the brooch.

Gold leaf on old manuscripts (parchment) was traditionally done with ‘glair’ = egg white. It’s incredibly strong when it dries.

Janet in Jerusalem

I am using 23.5k gold foil bought from Riogrande. It works and then it doesn’t always work. Application is fine (working over a seriously hot hotplate is not so fine!) but if you want to solder the pieces afterwards, too much heat can cause the gold to “disappear” into the silver. As mentioned earlier, rendering a yellow tinge to the silver unrecognizable as gold!
This just happened to me so I tried re-applying onto already formed shapes. This was a challenge as it took forever, it was HOT and I could not burnish down all the foil. I heated the pieces again with a torch to try to deliberately sink some of the foil. This worked but what a palava! It is very thin and if you breathe too hard (exhale with frustration) your foil will fly away.

How else could this be done? Any other experiences/suggestions?


Hi, Emma,

I’m not sure if this is what you’re asking about, but here’s a link to Celie Fago using a beehive / trinket kiln with brass plates for keum boo:

Celie Fago using Beehive Kiln for Keum Boo

Will the foil stay on after the piece is immersed in water or a sonic?

I have tried gold leaf with sterling but it’s really very awkward to use, mostly because it’s just too thin to take the amount of heat needed - and it won’t hold up over time. Keum Boo foil is 4-5 x thicker and still it’s quite delicate to handle. Save the gold leaf for wooden pieces. I also use this little “bee hive” kiln in the link above for Keum boo-with great success, but I only use the 24k gold foil, as Celie recommends-you can get it at AllCraft. Rio’s 23.5k is less effective, and the video link above will tell you that. The kiln is excellent for small pieces like earring or pendant size pieces- it maintains the same even temperature without heating up your face and space, so you can work for a long time with it. A hot plate is too uneven and heats you up after 10 min or so. I have done some bracelets with keum boo using fine silver, on my gas stove top using a large “baking steel”, and they also came out beautifully. Spend the money for the real thing and you’ll save a lot of time.

Thanks! Will check it out!

Just watched this…some useful info!