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Gilding is an ornamental or decorative/artistic technique used to apply a very thin layer of gold, silver, copper and/or variegated metals over many solid surfaces including other metals, wood, porcelain, and stone. 

An item that has a layer of gilding applied to it is also described as "gilt". 


There are several application techniques including hand application and bonding, chemical, and electroplating - also called gold plating.

And object that has been only partially gilded is referred to as Parcel-gilt. This may mean that the entire inside, and none of the outside, vessel – a cup, mug, chalice, pot, etc - is gilded, or that surface patterns or images are created by applying an amalgamation of gilded and ungilded regions. 

Gilding gives an object a gold appearance. A gilded surface does not discolor as do copper, silver and some other metals and materials.

Woodworking, frame making [picture frames etc.], lettering on books, pottery and leather are some examples of modern gilding work.

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