Sara Senigaglialogo

Graffito su Foglia d'Oro

Gold Leaf Engraving

The Technique and its History

San Pietro in mosaicoGraffito (the engaraving) on gold leaf is a very ancient technique.
In fact the custom of applying gold, flattened to a hair-thin leaf, to mosaics' pieces dates back to the first centuries a.D. in the making of mosaics that ornate byzantine style Churches.

medaglione in oro graffitoFirst examples of engraved gold leaf are found in early Christian art, particularly on medals made up by two glass halves melted togheter with the gold leaf in between.

Specimens of those objects can be found in the display cabinets of Vatican's Museum in Rome.

applicazione dell'oroThe technique consists in applying the gold leaf to the glass with the aid of a special glue. Then it's the time to engrave with a very thin tip made of copper, a quite soft metal that avoids to ruin the underlying glass.

When the engraving is over, the object is put in a special furnace
(a kiln) where the gold melts with glass and becomes more resistant and shiny.

Sara uses only authentic Murano glass, since, thanks to its special chemical formula, it's probably the only kind of glass that can afford to be re-melted in the kiln without the risk of bending or cracking.
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The strictly manual working of the objects to be decorated is guaranteed by the absence of the "joint", typical of vases and chalices casted in a mould, or the presence of the so-called "belly button" dued to the barrel of the glass blower, or again by the irregular surface of the hammer-flattened plates.

The gold leaf used by Sara is hand-flattened by local artesans and is obtained from the purest gold ingots, the only one that can give that rich tones and that unmistakeable reflexes that are exclusive features of the noblest among metals.

amor vincit omniaHistory, centuries-old traditions, precious materials and the taste for details' perfection are the ingredients that make Sara's works unique and that we believe can satisfy the most demanding too.

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2011 Sara Senigaglia