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Jun 19, 2012 03:48 PM

What is the gold on edges of china dinnerware

I've oft wondered what material is on the edge of a plate like this.

It must be something powerful not to disintregrate over the years .

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  1. On the better china, I believe it is gold leaf. On cheap stuff, I have no idea. Not sure which your plate is. Who's the manufacturer?

    1. That looks like Haviland china. The gold is painted on, but it's gold. It will disintegrate over the years if abraded during washing, which is a major reason to wash it by hand.

      7 Replies
      1. re: ellabee

        It's paint with gold in it; gilding. Not actually pure gold. Correct? Pure gold would have to be molten to be liquid and I don't think you can really paint with it.

        1. re: mangiare24

          I have seen guilded clocks. I think, though, guilding would wash off pretty fast, but it is just that, a thought. I suppose it would depend on how it was fired. I'm not sure of the firing temperatures of paint vs. china. But not something I am interested in -- too complicated :-))

          1. re: Rella

            The gilded clocks that you often see in antique stores were a very different process, they used mercury as a carrier which was then burned off to leave the gilded surface - generally, and gradually, killing off the workers who made them.

          2. re: mangiare24

            My understanding is that it is gold which was mixed with a "carrier" to make it paintable. During firing the "carrier" burns off, leaving the gold behind. It is painted on, but it is not a paint.

            Gilding is the application of gold leaf or powder to an object. It is not fired. This technique is generally used on decorative objects rather than functional/utilitarian objects.

            1. re: meatn3

              Got it. Thanks meatn3. That clarifies things. We are all in agreement that in some form or another it is real gold though.

              1. re: meatn3

                A succinct explanation. My many thanks!

            2. re: ellabee

              Yes, it is Haviland china - quite old, I believe (depending on whom one is addressing :-)) Some of it is in really good shape.