gold leaf

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Refers to sheets of gold that have been hammered or rolled very thin (typically around 0.1 micrometer, or 4 millionths of an inch, thick). In art, gold leaf has been applied to paintings, sculptures, manuscripts, and decorative arts since around 1500 BCE. In the 1920s, the process of creating gold leaf was successfully automated.

AAT

The Arts and Architecture Thesaurus Online, The Getty Research Institute.

Additional reference: 
http://vocab.getty.edu/aat/300264831
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materials
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