Metal leaf

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Metal leaf processing
22k gold leaf applied with an ox hair brush during the process of gilding
A small gold nugget 5 mm in diameter (bottom) can be expanded to about 20,000 times its initial surface through hammering, producing a gold foil surface of about one half square meter with a thickness of 0.2–0.3 μm. Toi gold mine, Japan.
Burnishing gold leaf with an agate stone tool during the water gilding process

Metal leaf, also called composition leaf or schlagmetal, is a thin foil used for decoration. Metal leaf can come in many different shades. Some metal leaf may look like gold leaf but not contain any real gold. This metal leaf is often referred to as imitation leaf.

Metal leaf is usually made of gold (including many alloys), silver, copper, aluminium, brass (sometimes called "Dutch metal" typically 85% Copper and 15% zinc) or palladium, sometimes also platinum.

Vark is a type of silver leaf used for decoration in Indian cuisine.

Goldbeating, the technique of producing metal leaf, has been known for more than 5,000 years.

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