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Golden facials help Japenese gold leaf sales

While most of the world demand for commodity gold sees it used for the production of jewelery, a rising trend is seeing sheet-thin gold lead used increasingly as an ingredient in facials.

Japan has led this diversification of the use of the precious metal, with the 'kinpaku' gold-leaf, primarily produced on the sea coast in Kanazawa, now used in lotions and cream to give skin-care a new golden shine.

Hakuichi, a Japanese company founded in 1975, started to use gold-leaf in lotions several years ago, as a way of creating an original gold-leaf-based product to raise sales of the metal substance.

"I wanted to develop new ways to apply the skill that we had," Kuniko Asano, president of Hakuichi, told Reuters.

Gold-leaf was formerly in great demand as a decorative covering for primarily religious monuments such as Kyoto's 600-year-old Golden Pavilion Temple.

Although the founding company admits that benefits are not proven, the use of gold-leaf in facial products is thought to improve circulation and to hold disinfectant qualities.

The jewelery market remains the main outlet for sales of gold as a commodity, while the industrial sector – principally dentistry and decorative applications – also generates considerable custom, accounting for 11 per cent of gold demand flows between 2001 and 2005, according to the World Gold Council.


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