Silver leaf - Important questions and answers
What is silver leaf?
Silver leaf is the term used to describe a fine, silver foil that is made from the real precious metal. Silver leaf is produced by a process almost identical to gold leaf and is also very thin in its final result. However, in direct comparison, silver leaf cannot be rolled to the same thickness and there are also some special features to consider in its application.
As an end product, silver leaf is offered in a variety of finishes. Thus, silver leaf can be obtained not only loose or transfer, but also in the variant "extra thin".
What is silver leaf transfer?
In silver leaf transfer, the precious metal is pressed onto a wax paper and placed in a book with 25 sheets. To apply the silver leaf, the shape of the wax paper can be easily adjusted with scissors and placed on the desired area. The wax paper is then peeled off and the silver leaf sticks to the surface, much like a decal.
To apply the silver leaf properly, it is recommended to use a suitable adhesive. These include Kölner Instacoll Base or Kölner Instacall clear.
What is loose silver leaf?
As the name suggests, loose silver leaf is individual leaf elements that are loosely inserted in the booklet. In order to properly process loose silver leaf, gilding pads, gilding knives as well as gilding brushes are required, among other things. Its application is especially found in poliment and oil gilding.
How can silver leaf be recognized?
Without the appropriate technical knowledge, it is hardly possible for the simple user to recognize whether the material in question is genuine silver leaf.
However, with some chemical procedures it becomes visible whether silver leaf is really present.
You should always purchase your silver leaf from a specialist dealer to prevent the purchase of counterfeit silver.
What does silver leaf look like?
Silver leaf is offered in the format 95 x 95 mm. The individual sheets can be purchased in a book of 25 sheets each.
Depending on the design, silver leaf can be loose in the booklet, or pressed on wax paper.
Production of silver leaf
How is silver leaf produced?
The manufacturing process of silver leaf is almost identical to that of gold leaf. Initially, a pure silver ingot is melted down and shaped. The cast precious metal is then mechanically rolled into a long strip. Next, the silver is cut in square, equal-sized format and stacked between powdered paper to avoid residue. After the stack has been worked by numerous blows per minute with a spring hammer, the areas now spread out can be called silver leaf.
Since silver has less flexibility in its property, it cannot be beaten as thin as gold leaf.
Application of silver leaf
Where is silver leaf used?
Silver leaf is mainly used in the finishing of art objects, furniture and other interior items. In gastronomy, pure silver leaf can also be used to decorate various culinary specialties.
In contrast, silver leaf is not suitable for outdoor use, as it is very susceptible to weathering and oxidizes easily.
Additional steps must also be followed for the correct application of silver leaf.
Is silver leaf edible?
In Germany, edible silver leaf is labeled with the food coloring E174 and is considered safe for consumption in moderate quantities. It can be used to enhance foods and beverages such as chocolates, pastries and sparkling wine.
To ensure that you are buying a safe quality product for the food sector, you should only purchase tested silver leaf from a specialist retailer. In our store you will find selected products for edible silver leaf.
How to silverplate with silver leaf?
For a correct application of silver leaf, some important steps should be followed.
First, make sure that the working environment is indoors and that it has low humidity, as silver leaf tends to oxidize quickly. To avoid unintentional stains, it is for this reason also to avoid touching the material with the hands without protection.
The first step in working with silver leaf is to clean the surface to be worked on from dirt. Afterwards, a primer is applied to the surface. Kölner Permacoll, Kölner Instacoll or Kölner Aqua Size are suitable for this purpose.
When silver-plating with loose silver leaf, it is important to select a suitable pick-up agent for the gating agent. Petroleum, for example, is more suitable for taking up silver leaf than Vaseline. The possible grease residues can cause oxidation of the material.
After the silver leaf has been placed in the desired position, a suitable protective coating is required. This is also required for proper protection against oxidation. Shellac or zapon varnish can be used here. To avoid wax residue in general, solvent-based coatings are best.
Cost of silver leaf
What does silver leaf cost?
The price of silver leaf is derived from the current trading rate for silver. Since the value of silver has been very volatile in recent years, prices between 12€ and 24€ per troy ounce could be derived. One troy ounce corresponds to 31.10 grams. To determine the value of silver leaf, the purity also plays an important role. The more silver is contained in the material, the more valuable the silver leaf is.