A Japanese craftsman can beat an ounce of gold into a sheet thin enough for light to pass through and covering an area of nine square meters. It is not possible to do this with any other metal.
Gold leaf has been used since at least the Bronze Age, it was used to decorate weapons and other highly valued items. Statues of the gods were often coated with gold leaf and still are today in SE Asia. Apart from its attractive appearance, the fact that gold does not oxidize or decay makes it ideal for this purpose. Gold leaf is also used in Thailand to coat the roofs of Buddhist temples.
Gold leaf has also been used in food and drink since ancient times. It was thought to give eternal life to those who ate it. However it did not add much to the life of the Roman general Crassus. It is most often found as a decoration in celebratory Indian dishes, and in the West to decorate desserts.
There are over thirty videos in this series commissioned by Gucci. I found most of them interesting.