Is Gold Foil Real Gold?

Is Gold Foil Real Gold?

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Gold foil is used in art, architecture, and even in culinary dishes. Used to wrap objects such as picture frames and jewelry, embellishing domes or interiors of buildings, and decorating food and drink to symbolize luxury, gold foil has many uses. 

Coming in a booklet of thin sheets, the gold leaves can be easily attached to many surfaces for a glittering look. But, if it is simply used for decorative purposes, is gold foil actually real gold?

Although it is surprising to many people, gold foil is real gold. Also referred to as gold leaf, this decorative and edible thin piece of gold is made by hammering real gold into thin sheets. Gold foil/leaf is available in a variety of karats the most common being 22 karat yellow gold.

The reason why gold foil is so cheap (in relation to the price of an ounce of gold) is because of how thin the sheet of gold is. Gold foil is often only 0.5 microns thick. A human hair is about 60-70 microns thick which means that a strand of hair is 120-140 times thicker than gold foil! 

So although gold foil is made up of real gold it is extremely thin. 

Glittery gold foil makes for some beautiful decoration. Objects, ceilings, and food, can all display its shiny material. It can make something invaluable look expensive. But, even though it can make something look valuable, gold foil isn’t too expensive to purchase. 

So, is it even real gold? The answer is yes, gold foil is real gold. But why is it inexpensive to purchase you may ask? Well, because it is such a small amount of gold. The more weight of the gold the more valuable it is. 

The thin layers of gold foil aren’t enough gold to be worth very much at all. But, it isn’t meant to be valuable. After all, since it can be used in food and drinks, and is edible, you wouldn’t want to spend thousands of dollars on a sheet. 

Gold foil can be made using different karats. If 24k gold foil, then it is made with 24k gold which is almost completely pure gold. If 22 k gold, then it is made with 22 karat gold, and is 91.67% pure gold. Most of the decorative gold foil is made with 22k gold and 24k gold foil is used for architectural projects, artwork, or religious iconography. 

Gold foil is made with real gold.  Although it isn’t valuable and used only for decorative purposes, gold foil is real… just really thin. To get some gold foil for yourself to make your next dinner one for the ages just click here. 

Genuine Gold Leaf Sheets 23k - by Barnabas Blattgold - 3.4 inches - 10 Sheets Booklet - Transfer Patent Leaf

Things To Look For To Tell If Gold Foil Is Real

Gold foil is made with 100 percent real gold. It doesn’t just look the part, it is real gold. But some may pass off worthless sheets that shine like gold but are fake. These gold painted pieces with a glossy top coat can be mistaken for real gold foil. 

So, how can you tell if gold foil is real?

Real gold foil can be determined by checking for certain things in its appearance. Imitation gold foil may resemble real gold foil however, so if you aren’t sure about the authenticity of your gold foil, then there are some signs to look for to know if it is real or not.

I’m sure you’ve heard of “fool’s gold”. This nickname was given to pyrite because it is worth nothing but shines like valuable gold. It can fool you into thinking that it is the precious metal of gold, but you can tell the difference when you know what to look for. 

The same goes for imitation gold foil. There are some who sell gold foil to look like real gold when in fact, it is not real at all. This is made up of base metal covered in a protective coating to simulate real gold foil. 

Here are some things to check for in order to tell if the gold foil is real or simply an imitation:

Brush marks 

These are a result of painting and an obvious sign that the gold foil is a fake. Real gold foil won’t have any brush marks.

Dullness Of Color Or Pigments 

Using a magnifying glass, you will notice that the gold foil looks dull if it is a fake. Real gold foil will have a vivid and bright color and pigment.


Fake gold foil is made with brass, copper, and zinc which can oxide and tarnish. Real gold foil won’t tarnish since it is made with real gold.

Real Gold Foil Is Much More Beautiful

If you set imitation gold foil and real gold foil next to each other, you will be able to tell which is the real one by how much better it looks.

Edible 24K Gold Foil Leaf Sheets, 30 Sheets Real Gold Leaf Leafing Sheets Foil Paper for Cake Chocolates Decorating Bakery Pastry Cooking Beauty Routine Makeup Health Spa Art Craft Work

How Expensive Is Gold Foil?

Depending on the supply and demand of gold, the amount that gold is worth can vary. But, gold is one of the most valuable metals. 

Gold foil can be purchased at many stores and online. A variety of gold leaf booklets are available on Amazon and they aren’t expensive to buy. 

Gold foil isn’t too expensive since it is a very thin sheet of gold. It is worth as much as the gold it is made of (plus markup for the manufacturing process). Gold foil isn’t worth a lot because it is such a small amount of gold. One sheet is only worth about $1 to $2 with a booklet costing anywhere from $5 to $20. 

The more gold something contains, the more valuable it is. Gold foil is hammered down into a very thin layer only about .5 of a micron (which is 1/1000 of a millimeter) which is very thin. Because of this, gold foil sheets aren’t worth very much. 

To put this in perspective, copier paper is 130 microns thick and human hair is about 60 microns thick. Gold foil is thinner than either of these by a long ways. It is transparent when held up to a light and can blow away in the wind. 

When being used to decorate something, it has  to be handled carefully because it can be easily damaged.

The sheets of gold foil are shaped into a square a little over 3 inches in diameter. So, you can see why gold foil isn’t that expensive. It would have to be a larger piece of gold to be worth more. 

The exact worth of gold foil is determined by how much pure gold it contains and how much of it there is. So a large 24k gold bar is worth much more than a delicate 18k gold chain. If a sheet of gold foil is 24k gold, then it is worth as much as 24k gold which is a little over $60 per gram. So, because of its size, gold foil isn’t expensive.

Genuine Edible Gold Leaf - 12 Sheets - Barnabas Gold - High Quality Gold Leaf - Loose Leaf for Cupcakes and Chocolate - 1.5 inches per sheet - Book of 12 Sheets

Final Thoughts

Gold foil is real gold. It is typically made of 24k or 22k gold. Used for decoration, gold foil can transform objects, buildings, and even food into looking shiny and expensive. 

The foil itself isn’t extremely valuable because it is hammered into very thin sheets. If you’re unsure if your gold foil is real or not, examine it and check for the signs we mentioned earlier in this article. 

Real gold foil is easy to spot by its appearance. Not only is it a way to make things look beautiful, but gold foil is real gold.

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