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Article: Silver-gilt


Silver-gilt Techniques

  • Silver-gilt objects have been made since ancient times across Eurasia
  • Various gilding techniques have been used, including overlaying or folding gold foil or gold leaf
  • Fire-gilding with mercury was a common method until the Early Modern period, despite its dangers
  • Electroplating is now the most commonly used method, as it is safer and does not involve mercury
  • Keum-boo is a special Korean technique of silver-gilding


  • Vermeil is an alternative term for silver-gilt, originating from French
  • The term is more commonly used in American English than in British English
  • Vermeil can also refer to gilt bronze, which is a less costly alternative material than silver
  • The US Code of Federal Regulations defines vermeil as sterling silver coated or plated with gold of not less than 10-karat fineness
  • Vermeil objects must have a substantial thickness of gold throughout

Considerations in use

  • Silver-gilt objects could be regilded at any point, as the gold would wear off over time
  • Items regularly handled, such as toilet service sets or tableware, often required regilding after a few years
  • Sometimes only the interior of cups was gilded, possibly due to concerns about cleaning tarnish from silver
  • Fully silver-gilt items are visually indistinguishable from solid gold
  • The gilding of objects was sometimes used to deceive and make them appear more valuable than they actually were


  • Category:Silver-gilt objects
  • Vermeil Room, where the White House's extensive collection of silver-gilt objects is displayed


  • German Olympic museum website and Beijing 2008 Appendix 8
  • Homers Odyssey (Bk vi, 232) mentions overlaying or hammering gold foil or gold leaf
  • Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd Edition (1989)
  • US Code of Federal Regulations, 16CFR23.5
  • British Museum, mentioning examples of silver-gilt objects

Silver-gilt Data Sources

Reference URL
Knowledge Graph

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