Gold beaten to the point of being transparent. A special thickness of leaf is employedby glass gilders for this reason. Traditionally, gold was beaten by hand. Today it is beaten by a machine producing a thinner leaf. It is cut into approx. 3"X 3" squares and sold in books of 25 leaves. Leaf can not be touched by hand or it will disintegrate. The leaf is transferred to an object with a brush called a Gilders Tip. The nature of the finish the gold leaf produces depends entirely on the surface upon which it is places. Finishes range from matte oil gilding surfaces to brilliant, burnished clay surfaces with water-gilding. The advantages of a gold leaf finish as opposed to other gold colored finished are: Its reflective quality (The beaten leaf has more reflective quality than anything produced with pigment), its durability (properly gild surfaces can last for centuries) and its stability (it does not tarnish).