In the New York Gilding Studio with Robin Roi

EverGreene Gilding Studio Tools

To get ready for the busy holiday season, the Van Cleef & Arpels Flagship Jewelry store on Fifth Avenue at 57th Street in New York City is getting gilt. Robin Roi, EverGreene’s Director of Decorative Finishes, walks us through our New York gilding studio to demonstrate the process of applying metallic leaf to frames that will soon be installed in the world-renowned jewelers as shadowbox display cases.

Nothing befits luxury quite like precious metals. For this project we used a very high-quality caplain gold leaf, which is a combination of palladium and gold. Palladium is a rare metal that is very similar to platinum, but known for its silvery-white quality, and polishes brighter than platinum. It is also harder and lighter than platinum, making it an ideal metal for leaf application.

The caplain leaf we used was processed by Florentine masters, Giusto Manetti Battiloro goldbeaters in Italy, the same firm that beat the gold we are using to gild the dome of the Colorado State Capitol. And at almost $1000 dollars for just a small box of leaf, it was important to waste nothing in the gilding process. Take a look as we walk you through the process of gilding-from the primed and ready frames sanded down to a perfectly smooth surface, all the way to the varnished and burnished final finish. The leaf was treated with a satin, luster effect that will appropriately showcase the gorgeous jewelry displayed inside of them.

Jewelry display case frames without leaf finish

Jewelry display case frames are primed, base coated, and sanded to a perfectly smooth surface prior to gilding.

Gilding with Caplain Leaf

Finishes expert Robin Roi is gilding with caplain leaf in a dust-free, contained environment. 

Applying a square of metallic leaf to adhesive

Each sheet of caplain leaf measures 3 3/8 inches square. The leaf is applied square after square; aligned to minimize the appearance seams.

Applying Caplain Leaf to Display Frames

Applying Caplain Leaf to Display Frames

Brushing away excess metallic leaf

Excess metallic leaf is brushed away with a soft squirrel hair brush, and t>he leaf is smoothed over with a cotton ball swab prior to varnish.

Varnishing the frames for a seamless effect

The frames receive several layers of a sealer coat to achieve the “satin” effect and protect during the delicate installation process.

Finished Gold Leafed frames drying in the Gilding Studio

Finished Gold Leafed frames drying in the Gilding Studio

The frames are set out to dry in the gilding studio, which is a dust-free, contained environment where the varnish can slowly cures for several days before transporting to their final locations. Each frame received two layers of sealer.