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France’s last

Since 1834, the MAISON DAUVET has been perpetuating an age-old craft. Gold beaten flat into thin sheets called gold leaf was used for the first sovereigns of Egypt as well as in India in the early days of Buddhism. Various stages serve to transform rough gold into thousands of tiny gold-leaf flakes. This meticulous and authentic skill involves several successive phases.

Unique expertise

Maison Dauvet is the only French gold leaf manufacturer. The dome of the Invalides in Paris, the flame of the Statue of Liberty in New York as well as the cupolas of the Russian orthodox cathedral in Geneva have all been restored using its expertise. The work is always identical. Everything begins with preparing the alloy. Fine gold is mixed with copper to harden it and silver to create color nuances – of which there are around 20. This mixture is melted at a temperature of 1200 °C in order to achieve a 220g ingot. The latter is then fed through a rolling mill to be drawn out and subsequently annealed so as to be ductile. The strip is cut into segments and beaten with a mechanical hammer. The operation is repeated several times to achieve gold leaf measuring around 0.2 microns on average. This feather-light gold leaf is recovered using extremely thin reed tweezers, then cut to the right size and placed between tissue paper sheets in a book ready for use. While gold is acknowledged as a luxurious material in itself, no painting – however sophisticated – can hope to compete with it, given its properties including inalterability, insensitivity to weather variations and resistance to all acids. In outdoor use, it is expected to last 80 years!

By Valérie Blanc



© Ch. Bornet by Kristo

© Ch. Bornet by Kristo

© Ch. Bornet by Kristo

© Ch. Bornet by Kristo

© Ch. Bornet by Kristo

© Ch. Bornet by Kristo

© Ch. Bornet by Kristo

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