The purpose of gilding is to give the appearance of solid gold, a practice that began over 4,000 years ago in Northern Africa. Paintings from Egyptian tombs from around 2000 B.C.E. show workers pounding gold into thin sheets to apply to pieces of furniture and coffins. The Greeks applied gilding to statues in around 400 B.C.E., and gilding techniques have continued to be used
in Europe, South America, Spain, Britain and the United States.
During the 18th century, Louis XIV of France flaunted his wealth with gilded furnishings, framed artwork and architectural detailing, marking France as a leader in the decorative arts.