Leather with a golden glow was extremely popular among the higher classes in 16th-18th century Europe. It was mostly used to adorn the walls of royal palaces and the homes of wealthy individuals.

Although one could understandably assume that the golden glow comes from a gold leaf coating, it is actually silver leaf. Nevertheless, even if not real gold, the manufacturing process is still very expensive and complex. It requires practice and patience, as well as the background knowledge, to obtain the gold shimmer. A special paint was used which was based on various resins whose composition was a closely guarded secret during the Renaissance and Baroque periods.

                                Gold leaf wallpaper     Gold Leather

The finished gold leather can be further decorated using different techniques like painting, hallmarking or stamping.

Decorating book covers with gold leather involves three different techniques:

  • Hand gilding - this is a highly skilled technique that originates in the Islamic world and existed way back in the 11th century, using tools to emboss the gold leaf onto the leather. 
  • Gold print motifs were pre-punched, then the area had to be primed. The surrounding areas were oiled so that the gold leaf wouldn’t stick. The gold leaf was applied with cotton, pressed with a heated tool and the excess rubbed off.
  • Press gilding - decorative motifs were applied using brass plates or stamps. Today, long sheets of gold foil are used by machines to gold-plate the leather.
                                Gold embossed books     Gold leather Michael Kors bag 

Metallic coloured leather

Leather can be given a metallic appearance. Metallic effects are usually only used in smooth leathers. This type of leather, although very rare, can be found in car leathers like some Porsche models, and even old American cars have frequently contained metallic leather. In the fashion industry, there are trends for metallic effects on shoes, clothing and bags. However, metallic leather furniture is highly unusual.

Metallic leather

Leather that looks like metal

There are leathers that have been made to look like a metal. This is achieved by applying a film with a metallic appearance onto smooth leather. Such leathers are usually found in fashionable shoes, bags and other accessories.

Leather with a metallic shimmer

Applying a clear top coat creates a metallic shimmer. This style tends to be used on leathers used to make shoes, bags or clothing and, occasionally, for automotive leather.

                              American car metallic seats     Metallic Porsche seat

Cleaning and care instruction for metallic leather 

For everyday cleaning, it is sufficient to occasionally dust off the leather with a feather duster or a dry dust cloth. 

Visible dirt and stains can be cleaned with Colourlock Mild Leather Cleaner. Fresh stains can be removed immediately with a soft cloth or paper towel. Don’t rub too hard! Clean remaining dirt and stains with Mild Leather Cleaner. For difficult stains, it is always better to contact a specialist first. Damage can easily occur due to improper cleaning attempts. For maintenance, we recommend Colourlock Elephant Leather Preserver. It keeps the leather soft and supple and maintains the shine. First rub the leather fat in a terry cloth and then apply thin layers. 

Reccommended products

Top tips!

  • Depending on the strain, heat and light intensity, treat this type of leather sparingly, every three to twelve months.