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.