Springer Nature is making Coronavirus research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

The ancient craft of gold beating


Transferable gold coatings, the manufacture and application of which were reviewed in Gold Bulletin a year ago, are now widely used for decorative purposes. True beaten gold leaf, however, remains the material of choice for prestige gilding in which durability is called for. Gold beating by hand has been practised for some five thousand years and the exponents of this ancient craft, to whom ‘address is requisite’, are justifiably proud of the traditions associated with it.


  1. 1

    M. Berthelot, ‘Archéologie et Histoire des Sciences’, Steinheil, Paris, 1906

  2. 2

    J. Altman, Gold Bull., 1979, 12, (2), 75–82

  3. 3

    C. Plinius Secundus, ‘Naturalis Historia’, XXXIII, 18, 19

  4. 4

    W. S. Prideaux Clark, ‘Memorials of the Goldsmiths’ Company’, London, 1896

  5. 5

    Theophilus, ‘De Diversis Artibus’, Book I, Chapter 23, translated into English by J. G. Hawthorne and C. S. Smith, ‘On Divers Arts: The Treatise of Theophilus’, The Chicago University Press, Chicago, 1963, pp. 39–41

  6. 6

    C. d’A. Cennini, ‘Il Libro dell’Arte’, translated by D. V. Thompson Jr., 1932

Download references

Author information

Rights and permissions

This article is published under an open access license. Please check the 'Copyright Information' section for details of this license and what re-use is permitted. If your intended use exceeds what is permitted by the license or if you are unable to locate the licence and re-use information, please contact the Rights and Permissions team.

About this article

Cite this article

Nicholson, E.D. The ancient craft of gold beating. Gold Bull 12, 161–166 (1979). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03215119

Download citation


  • Flax Fiber
  • Gold Bulletin
  • Gold Leaf
  • Gold Reserve
  • Carat Gold