Turning a bar of gold into the thinnest of leaves requires five work stages and roughly ten production hours. The first stage is the melting of the pure, 24-carat gold with copper and silver to achieve an alloy, and therefore the different colour of the leaf. The melting takes place at a termperature of over 1.000° C.
The second work stage is the transformation of the gold bar into a sheet which is only a few microns thin. In the rolling mills, the gold is passed through two cylinders until it becomes a thin ribbon. The gold ribbon is then cut into stamp-size squares, after which it is ready for the next processing stage.
Gold sheet is cut into squares and inserted in special paper packets called “forms”, which undergo various beating cycles by means of hammers of different shapes and weight, until the leaves are only a few micron decimals. Our trade takes its name, “Goldbeater”, from this process. Even today the very last stage of beating is carried out by hand.
Cutting and Packaging
In this stage the beaten leaves of gold are cut by expert hands to the size required by the customer, with the use of special double-bladed knives, and then inserted into booklets of tissue paper. Expert eyes and sure hands check the quality of each leaf one by one and place them in the booklets before wrapping them in the traditional packages and sending them to customers.
Quality is the most important parameter of our entire manufacturing process. At every stage, we undertake dedicated controls on the product and process to ensure compliance with set standards and the best final result. In addition to this, a special department carries out a thorough quality check of the finished product so every Manetti leaf meets the specific needs of the client.
Direction and editing by Andrea Mariotti.
Rossignoli-Mariotti film productions 2009.