A powder prepared from finely ground gold. Gold is difficult to grind because of its ductility. This made powdered gold more expensive than gold leaf. In medieval times, one preparation method mixed gold with honey then ground it in a glass mortar. Another method amalgamated the gold with mercury prior to grinding followed by heating to drive off the mercury. Currently, gold powder is prepared by electrolytic methods. In the Middle Ages, the most common use for gold powder was as an ink and paint on illuminated manuscripts. It is now primarily used as a colorant in gold paint for the decoration of ceramics (see Liquid Bright Gold).
Synonyms and Related Terms
poudre d'or (Fr.); polvo de oro (Esp.); goudpoeder (Ned.); pó de ouro (Port.)
Sources Checked for Data in Record
- Ralph Mayer, A Dictionary of Art Terms and Techniques, Harper and Row Publishers, New York, 1969 (also 1945 printing)
- Matt Roberts, Don Etherington, Bookbinding and the Conservation of Books: a Dictionary of Descriptive Terminology, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington DC, 1982