Goldwork Materials Explained

Natasha Searls-Punter

Natasha Searls-Punter

Have you ever looked at a piece of Goldwork and wondered ”What is going on here?!?”

Goldwork embroidery, as a style is always about the meeting of textures.- different materials of (historically) similar colours used to define different areas of the artwork through textural contrasts.

However if you are new to goldwork, identifying which ones give what effect can be a bit tricky so let us give you a cheat sheet and show you the difference:

Passing Thread (silver here shown paired)
Fine metallic outer around a cotton core


Pearle Purl (leaf edge and central vein)
Hard metal curved wire spun into purl


Japanese Thread
Metallic high shine paper ribbon wrapped around a cotton core


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Gold Plate (Beetle’s Body)
Flat ribbon like metal


Rococco Thread
Fine metallic outer wrapped around a cotton core- wavy finish


Rough Purl (big leaves and braid outside edges)
Metal wire spun into a purl with a matt finish


Smooth Purl (cutwork sections)
Metal wire spun into a purl with a high shine finish


Bright Check (red and green shown)
Metal wire spun into a glittery finished purl available in many colours


Gilt Spangles (edges)
Sequin like metal disks


Find all these, and more specialise embroidery materials in the specialist embroidery materials section of our website.


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