The Art of gilding is an ancient practice that requires extensive training, patience and a steady hand. The tequniques we use today have barely changed since it's first uses in Ancient Egypt.
Oil gilding is the simplest form of gilding . The use of an oil based size allows for the gilded item to be exposed to water, there for it is the only option when gilding stone or metal work outside. A wide variety of metal leaf can be used to great effect for example copper. However oil gilding can not be burnished to a high shine. Instead you rely on the texture of the surface beneath the size, the smoother the surface the higher the shine.
Water gilding is by far the most time consuming technique, used only for items intended to stay under cover, most commonly carved frames, unlike oil gilding it takes a mirror burnish. The technique requires special skill and patience. It is a temperamental art that involves building up and smoothing several layers of gesso and bole then reactivating the surface under the correct conditions to apply the gold. There is then a short window in which selected areas may then be meticulously hand burnished to produce a brilliant shine.
Verse Églomisé is the process of gilding glass. Designs can be added before gilding or created by scratching into the gilded area and then backing with paint. The traditional use is to create a mirror effect, however many new techniques replicate aged mirror, marbled mirror and many exciting variations that often get used to great effect in interior design.