If you’ve found yourself asking, “Can gold leaf be melted down?” you’ve come to the right place. Gold leaf is gold pounded into thin sheets that are often used for artwork, decorative purposes, and even eating. But can gold leaf be melted down, and if so, at what temperature? Join us as we explore more about this topic in today’s post.
What Is Gold Leaf?
Gold leaf is gold that is pounded thin to be used for a wide array of purposes. This gold is often pure but is also sometimes mixed with copper or silver.
Pure gold leaf comes in many forms and is used for everything from artwork to fine dining. Know that the number of karats in gold leaf will vary based on purity. You may see gold leaf sold containing as low as 6 karats per sheet. But you also may notice 100% pure 24 karat gold leaf available for purchase as well.
Some types of gold leaf can be edible gold leaf (assuming that it is marked as such). This type of melted gold can be used for food and is often thin enough to stick to fingers when using.
You can also find imitation gold leaf. This type is often crafted with silver, copper, or aluminum. Imitation gold leaf won’t have the same chemical makeup as your typical pure gold sheets. It may take on a different hue from the normal yellowish color.
At What Temperature Does Gold Leaf Melt?
The melting point of gold is typically around 1950 degrees Fahrenheit. However, this approximation usually applies to gold in its pure form. Gold leaf with a mixture of different types of metal will vary when it comes to gold melting temperature.
Can Gold Leaf Flakes Be Melted Down?
If you want to melt gold leaf flakes or sheets, it is important to have the proper expectations for how much gold you will end up with.
First and foremost, it is important to understand that a single nugget of gold can produce as much as 5 feet of gold leaf when pounded into thin sheets. This lets you know how much of the gold leaf it would take to actually form a single gold nugget.
With this in mind, know that though you can technically melt pure gold flakes, you probably won’t end up with jewelry or a gold bar. It would take a lot of gold sheets to form it into something worthwhile. Thus, melting gold leaf may or may not be worth the effort.
How Do You Melt Leaf Gold?
Now that you know that melting gold leaf is possible but not necessarily fruitful, you may still want to know how to go about it.
Assuming that you have enough gold leaf to make the melting gold worthwhile, you can try the following ways to melt gold.
CAUTION: Always remember to wear heat-protective gloves as well as protective eyewear when attempting to melt gold.
Get a Crucible (and Tongs)
When melting gold leaf, you’ll need to make sure you have a suitable crucible as well as heat-resistant tongs. Because gold needs to be very hot in order to melt, it is crucial that you use the correct materials when preparing to heat your gold leaf.
Using flux, also known as manganese dioxide, helps eliminate impurities in your gold.
Use a Microwave
You can use a microwave to melt gold but you must purchase a microwave gold melting kit to do it safely. Also, it is advised that once you melt gold in your microwave that you never again use it for heating food.
Use a Heating Kit
A general heating kit is a great idea for melted gold leaf. The kits can provide you with much of what you need, including a crucible, tongs, and more options.
Use a Torch
If you have the skills to pull it off, you could use a torch to melt your gold leaf. Doing it this way should be reserved for pros only. Thus, if you aren’t sure how to use a torch to melt certain metals, it’s best that you leave this method to those who know what they’re doing.
Note: Remember that pure gold leaf may melt at around 1,9450 degrees Fahrenheit but that gold leaf containing other metals may melt at lower temperatures. It is also possible to boil gold as it has a boiling point of 5,173 degrees Fahrenheit.
Does Gold Leaf Burn?
Gold flakes may or may not burn. The determining factor is the temperature of the heat, and also, what the gold leaf, gold dust, or gold powder is made out of. Remember that not all kinds of gold sheets are the same. Some will come with alloy metals while others may come pure. If you find that your gold leaf is burning, it likely means that you aren’t using pure gold sheets, but rather, are using gold sheets that are infused with other metals. This lowers the temperature at which the gold melts, and also, can cause burning due to the other additives present.
Does Real Gold Leaf Burn?
Pure gold leaf isn’t likely to burn, but may glow red. When melted it will become like liquid and may run all over the place. This is why it is important to use a crucible when melting your gold to keep the melted gold leaf contained.
Can Gold Leaf Be Melted Down? Yes, But…
Remember gold leaf can be melted and can begin melting at about 1,950 degrees Fahrenheit. Despite these facts, it may not be worth your while to pursue melted gold leaf. Unless you have a ton of loose leaf gold, you likely won’t have enough to melt it down into anything usable. Still, if you find melted gold leaf to be useful for decorative applications, art, or other projects, feel free to try. Just remember that melted gold leaf that isn’t pure may yield different results from gold leaf that is.
Gold leaf in the form of food grade gold sheets are non toxic. However, it is important that you make sure that the gold paper you are using is indeed non toxic and food grade. Otherwise, you run the risk of ingesting other metals and impurities, which could prove hazardous to your health.
Yes, absolutely. Because gold requires such a high temperature to melt, you can be sure that melted gold will burn your skin. For this reason, we highly recommend that you wear heat-resistant tongs and even heat-resistant gloves to protect yourself while working.