Shell gold

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A watercolor paint made by mixing gold powder with gum arabic. Shell gold was an expensive paint used for gilded surfaces in paintings and manuscripts as well as for decorative tooling on leather bindings. It was traditionally stored in mussel shells. The gold powder was prepared by grinding gold leaf in honey.

Sources Checked for Data in Record

  • The Dictionary of Art, Grove's Dictionaries Inc., New York, 1996 Comment: Craddock "Gilding"
  • 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
  • R.D. Harley, Artists' Pigments c. 1600-1835, Butterworth Scientific, London, 1982
  • Teri Hensick, contributed information, 1998

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