Imitation Gold Leaf Vs. Real Gold Leaf. Which one is better?

Imitation Gold Leaf Vs. Real Gold Leaf. Which one is better?

One question that has often been asked in the context of gilding is “Is gold leaf real gold?” The answer is Yes and No. There are two types of gold leaf: Real Gold Leaf and Imitation Gold Leaf.

What is real gold leaf made of?

The real gold leaf is made of real gold and is available in different karats. Either it can be used as a pure 24K gold or it can be mixed with other metals like silver or copper. However, in real gold leaf, real gold is always present.

To learn more about Real Gold Leaf, read here.

What is an Imitation Gold leaf made of?

Imitation gold leaf, also known as Dutch Metal or Dutch Gold or Composition Gold Leaf, is made from a combination of copper, zinc and brass. The combination gives the appearance of gold.
Imitation gold leaf is thicker than the real gold leaf. It is generally used for gilding walls and ceilings as its appearance is similar to real gold yet it is less expensive than that.

Does Imitation Gold Leaf Tarnish?

Imitation gold leaf is subject to tarnish and oxidation. Therefore, it is mandatory to seal it with topcoat sealers to prevent oxidation.

How to seal an Imitation Gold Leaf?

Once you have gilded a surface with imitation gold leaf, seal it with a solvent-based, clear coat sealer. It will not only protect the imitation gold leaf from tarnishing but will also enhance its durability.

To learn more about how to apply gold leaf to a wall, read here.

Real or Imitation Gold Leaf? Which one is better?

If the budget permits, choosing real gold leaf is always the best choice as it is superior to imitation gold leaf in terms of appearance and durability. Imitation gold leaf gets tarnished and oxidised after a few years of application whereas the real gold leaf is able to withstand the impact of environmental and other factors.

Watch the video to get a glimpse of how gold leaf is applied to a surface.


Real gold leaf or imitation gold leaf, whichever you choose, be rest assured of the royalty you are going to experience as it adds luminance to your home. If you are in India, click here to avail gold leafing (both, real and imitation gold leaf are available) services and witness how they add a midas touch to your interiors.