Cloth of gold woven with golden strips

Cloth of gold or gold cloth (Latin: Tela aurea) is a fabric woven with a gold-wrapped or spun weft—referred to as "a spirally spun gold strip". In most cases, the core yarn is silk, wrapped (filé) with a band or strip of high content gold. In rarer instances, fine linen and wool have been used as the core.


The left inside panel of the Wilton Diptych (c. 1395–1399) shows a kneeling Richard II of England wearing a robe of cloth of gold and red vermilion.

Cloth of gold has been popular for ecclesiastical use for many centuries. Under Henry VII of England, its use was reserved to royalty and higher levels of nobility.[1] It is also used today by companies such as Charvet for neckwear.[2]

Few extant examples have survived in Roman provincial tombs.[3][4][5] Later producers of cloth of gold include the Byzantine Empire and Medieval Italian weavers, particularly in Genoa, Venice and Lucca.[6] Dating from the 1460s the Waterford cloth-of-gold vestments are made from Italian silk woven in Florence. The panels were embroidered in Bruges which was the centre of the medieval embroidery industry. A similar cloth of silver was also made. It is still made in India and Europe today.[7]

Use at Coronation of King Charles III

King Charles III re-used the Supertunica made from cloth of gold at his coronation on 6 May 2023. The full-length, sleeved coat is an important historic textile from the royal collection, weighing around two kilograms. It has been worn at several previous coronations in the United Kingdom.[8]



See also


  1. ^ Hayward, Maria (2009). Rich apparel: clothing and the law in Henry VIII's England. Ashgate Publishing. p. 172. ISBN 978-0-7546-4096-7.
  2. ^ Misener, Jessica (2017-12-06). "Real Gold Necktie Developed In Switzerland Will Cost You $8,500 (PHOTOS)". HuffPost. Retrieved 2023-04-19.
  3. ^ GATH, JOSEPH; RAHMANI, L.Y. (1977). "A Roman Tomb at Manaḥat, Jerusalem". Israel Exploration Journal. 27 (4): 209–214. ISSN 0021-2059. JSTOR 27925635.
  4. ^ Waters, Conny (2022-08-13). "Unique Ancient Gold Cloth Found In The Necropolis Of Saint-Pierre-l'Estrier Is The Largest Antique Piece Found To Date". Ancient Pages. Retrieved 2023-04-19.
  5. ^ Hart, Mary Louise; Ganio, Monica; Maish, Susan Lansing; MacLennan, Douglas Kainoa (2021-08-30). "Vittae Auratae: Interpreting the History and Technology of a Group of Roman Gold Textile Fragments". ResearchGate. Retrieved 2023-04-19.
  6. ^ Jane Burns, E. (2009). Sea of silk: a textile geography of women's work in medieval French literature. University of Pennsylvania Press. p. 47.
  7. ^ "Cloths of Gold: National Institute of Fashion and Technology". Google Arts & Culture. Retrieved 2023-04-19.
  8. ^ Harris, Rob (2 May 2023). "Charles to recycle robes and thrones for more sustainable coronation". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  9. ^ "Cloth-of-Gold". Eyefetch. Archived from the original on 2012-02-10.
  10. ^ Guy, John (2014). Henry VIII : the quest for fame. London: Allen Lane. p. 82. ISBN 9780141977126.