Goldwork is the use of various types of metal threads and embellishments to adorn fabric. Threads include passing (a silk or synthetic core wrapped in very thin strips of metal), purls (hollow tubes of metal of various descriptions) and twists (multiple strands of very fine passing twisted together); embellishments include spangles (small circles of gold with a small break, similar to sequins) and kid leather covered with metal foil. Threads are normally couched down, threaded like a bead or applied.
Padding is used extensively in goldwork to maximise the effects of light on the metal; various materials are used to create different effects including string, felt, vellum and cardboard.
The majority of the metal thread remains on the surface of the fabric, partly because most of the threads are impractical to take through the fabric and partly for reasons of economy.
Goldwork formed part of Opus Anglicanum: most notably underside couching of gold file (like a very fine version of passing) but also regular couching, twist, purls and spangles.
Goldwork techniques can be worked in silver or other metal threads.