Gold is a beautiful, rare and rich metal and people desire it for both its amazing beauty and durability. As gold is highly desirable and low in supply, it is significantly more expensive than a look-alike gold paint. A mid-range gold paint can only offer a modest representation of the gold. For an exterior project, pure gold leaf for gilding offers a multitude of benefits compared to gold paint. While it is true that the initial investment of gilding the exterior of a building or a statue with authentic gold leaf is going to be expensive, it will result in an amazing-looking and durable result, which can last for decades.

Gold paint, though cheaper initially, needs regular maintenance and restoration work to ensure the building keeps looking great. The regular maintenance and restoration process negate the price advantage that gold paint has over pure gold leaf. To understand the point, you must first know the nature of the real gold leaf and gold colour.

Why applying pure gold leaf for gilding is the right choice? 

Gold leaf that people use as gilding comes in varying weights and gold content. For example, gold content that shows the purity of the leaf can range from lowly 6-karat to the highest 24 carats, which is considered a hundred per cent pure gold. If the gold is purer, it will weigh more compared to a low-carat gold leaf. When you choose a high purity gold leaf for gliding, the result is far more durable compared to gilding that is done with a low carat gold leaf. Pure gold leaf by the famous Italian gold beaters guarantees a better finish and longevity of the artwork.

As the exterior gilding is exposed to external elements, use of high purity gold leaf will ensure better results. Gilding done by highly pure gold leaf can withstand the environmental factors far better than any gold paint.

why can’t gold colour take the place of pure gold leaf

You will find that most of the gold paints available in the market are water-based paints that have mica or certain metallic pigments that give it the golden colour. They do provide a waterproof coating to the substrate which protects it from rust, corrosion, acid rain and UV exposure. However, this protection provided by the paint wears off after a few years. Therefore, if you have applied gold paint instead of gold leaf on your exterior, within a few years the shine of the paint will go and so will the protection. Therefore, gold paint should only be used in indoor projects rather than on the exterior of a building or a statue.


The main advantage for opting for gold paint over gold leaf for gilding is its price. Therefore, if you are looking for a temporary fix, you can go ahead and use gold paint. However, if you are more concerned with the longevity of the gilding and its continued brilliant looks for several decades, you must opt for gold leaf.

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