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Gilding metal

Wire 0.061mm

What is Gilding Metal?

Gilding metal is a special kind of Brass that is used to make objects which are to be gilded by electrolysis. It is a Copper alloy, made from 95% Copper and 5% Zinc. It has a deep yellow golden colour that, over time, darkens into a rich bronze colour. It can also be supplied in pre-patinated colours, ranging from deep brown to green.

What is gilding?

The term ‘gilding’ can be described as a decorative technique that covers a base or common materials such as wood, stone or metal, with a layer of gold leaf or powder. Gilding metal is the metal used to cover the objects, which are to be gilded by electrolysis.

How do you gild something?

The five processes used for gilding metal objects are:

  • Using mercury
  • By electrolysis
  • Using a gilding paste
  • By friction
  • In a vacuum
  • Using a varnish

Gilding Metal Properties

The material has similar malleability and working properties as Silver and like most Copper-Zinc alloys, it combines strength and ductility. It has a melting point between 899 ºC – 941ºC and can be annealed by heating it to 427–788°C. It should be cooled slowly afterwards, to reduce risk of cracking. Another of Gilding Metal’s properties is that it has excellent corrosion resistance in most media. It is less susceptible to corrosion cracking than those Brasses with a higher Zinc percentage and is not considered susceptible in marine atmospheres.


Gilding Metal can be hammered or easily formed into desired shapes, making it ideal for craft-related projects. It is also effortlessly enamelled, brazed, soldered or engraved. Its striking golden colour makes it a clear choice of metal for architectural, craft and decorative purposes. It is also ideal for jewellery or for metalsmithing, often used to test run pieces to keep the material costs to a minimum, mostly as an alternative to sterling Silver. It can also be paired with other metals like 9 carat Gold, Copper, Brass and Bronze for mixed metal pieces. Normally sold in sheets, it can be soldered with sterling Silver solder or fluxed solder paste.

Gilding Metal is also used for bullet jackets and driving bands on some artillery shells. Interestingly, in 1944, shell casings made of gilding metal were melted down by the United States Mint to be made into pennies. These pennies replaced the less popular steel cent of 1943 and the pennies of this composition were produced until 1946.

Some common applications:

  • Architectural fascia
  • Grillwork
  • Jewellery
  • Ornamental trim
  • Badges
  • Door handles
  • Marine hardware
  • Primer caps
  • Pen, pencil and lipstick tubes


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Corrosion resistant
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