a kind of lace made of gold wire, flattened between two polished steel rollers, into a ribbon which is twisted round a core of silk. The "gold wire" used in the manufacture of gold thread is nearly always in India, where a great deal is made, composed of pure silver with a thin coating of gold. Gold wire for thread is generally drawn down to a size measuring 1,100 to 1,400 yards to the ounce of metal. Finer sizes reach the length of 1,800 to 2,000 yards to the ounce, and to attain this fineness the wire is drawn through perforated gems, such as diamonds and rubies.
The only difference between gold and silver thread is that the thin coating of gold is wanting on the latter. Gold thread is used in the manufacture of military lace. This, however, is a woven substance and not true lace; but some real lace is made both of gold and silver thread. Both kinds of thread are also used for facings of liveries, and for ecclesiastical robes, altar cloths, and banners. These and other fabrics are either embroidered or woven, but often only in part, with the thread. Much of the "gold thread" used for theatrical dresses and decorations has only a covering of Dutch metal and the "silver thread" in these is spun with a covering of a cheap white alloy, having a mere film of silver on the surface.
Entry from Everybody's Cyclopedia