The art of garden design was led by kings for many centuries. They saw gold as a symbol of their wealth and power. Solid gold can rarely have been used but gold leaf found many applications. Since gold is immune to corrosion, it retained it glitter for all to admire. Examples of gold leaf can still be found in historic gardens and it is used occasionally in modern gardens.
Gold is malleable and ductile. Leaf metal varies from 1/8000 mm to 1/10,000 mm in thickness. Twenty four carat gold has the best colour but it is less malleable than the twenty two or fifteen carat gold. Gold leaf can be applied to metal, wood, plastic, stone or plaster by a mechanical cold gilding process, not chemical bonding. Imitation gold leave is also available, also know as "Dutch Metal", "Brass leaf", or "Composition Leaf". Genuine gold leaf will not tarnish and needs no protection. Imitation gold must be covered with a protective coating. (varnish, spray fixative, urethane etc.).