Today only in use for monasterial works and traditional clothing (Trachten), Gold thread was a very important product for textile works in the medieval ages.
It was made from a core (called “Seele” = soul in German) from silk or horse hair which was wrapped with extremely fine stripes of gold thread/foil. This technique is known to have existed already 4.500 years ago in ancient Egypt.
The garments of rich and aristocratic people were embelished mith gold or silver thread in different techniques
- Embroidery (a yellow or greenish silk thread is used to stitch the gold thread onto the fabric)
- Tablet woven ribbons using gold threads
- Gold thread woven into the fabric (damask cloth, fine veils etc)
Numberous findings show that gold thread has been used throughout the almost 1000 years of medieval history. In Austria, early medieval tombs from 7th to 9th century contain gold threads either woven into the fabrics or stitched onto the fabric.
In the cathedral of Speyer containing imperial tombs from 11-13 th century, researchers found elaborately decorated clothing (mostly from sikl) which have been widely covered with gold thread embroidery and tablet woven ribbons using gold threads.
In the burial fileds of Villach-Judendorf (Carinthia), a sensational find has been made by archeologists not too long ago. Several luxury head coverings were found including different gold barrets/bonnets which today can be seen at the Villacher Stadtmuseum . The barrets were in an exceptionally good state due to the oxygen-deficient soils and were therefor allowing a closer examination of the used techniques and materials. One remarkable detail was the finesse of the gold thread measuring only 0,2 mm diameter.
Although it is only possible to detect gold-spinners guilds from 1387 in Cologne, the making and use of gold threads has been a typically female work (small hands!). Even aristocratic women were involved in the making as many nordic myths and minstrels indicate.
For financial reasons we work our thread with brass-thread instead of real gold or silver.