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Matte.  A dull unburnished metallic finish without luster or sheen; an area of dead reflection. Matte surface, infrequently called mat surface, is produced by abrasive blasting with sand (or other grit abrasive), by matte dip (an acid that lightly etches the metal surface), or by matting tools (more often used in chasing). Matte finish is often used with proof surface for the contrast of reflectiveness – the main device is usually matte with the background or field in proof. Such dies are made by first masking the portion to have a proof surface, applying the matte dip to the area for the dead reflection, removing the masking material, then proof polishing the area to have the mirror surface. The contrast is quite startling.  See reflectiveness, proof finish.

Matte finish on gold is called rose gold, this is not a color of gold, but a ruddy, matte finish of gold. It has no luster, but has the finish, it is said, of a rose petal.


excerpted with permission from

An Encyclopedia of Coin and Medal Technology

For Artists, Makers, Collectors and Curators


Roger W. Burdette, Editor

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