These beautiful highlights for your home are done in 23.5 carat gold (or in palladium--for a silver finish with the tarnish-free characteristics of gold). The metal leaf is adhered to the surface with a slow drying oil - very nearly the same technique used in ancient Egyptian tombs. For the best appearance and longevity, the gold is left bare--unless it's in a location likely to attract frequent touching. The look of gold is prized for a reason, and its appeal is somewhat diminished by topcoats. The metal itself is likely to outlast whatever clear coat is laid atop.