Exquisite would be one word to describe this deck: a delicate and thoughtful collection of collages using European artwork from medieval and Renaissance periods. This is the creation of artist Kat Black, published by US Games (2003) with gilded edges and presented in a sturdy custom box.
The predominant colour scheme involves grounded and earthy browns and greens, though this is by no means a monotone deck. True to its name, there is an abundance of gold, most noticeable in the gilded edges and on the borders. Overall I get a sense of “groundedness” with this deck, yet the careful choice in collage artwork and beautiful rendering elevate its energy to an almost ethereal quality.
This is a 78 card deck, based on the Rider Waite Smith concept; the cards are slightly larger than standard decks, 7.3 by 12.2cm. It is presented in a beautiful box that neatly fits the cards and the booklet. The booklet is a generous and detailed compilation of card meanings (both upright and reversed) and includes a full Appendix listing all the art sources for each card.
One of the reasons I am fond of this deck is that the digital collage is well executed. Having been a tarot reader and collector for a good decade now, I have had my share of disappointments with digital collage decks that were at best amateurish, and at worst tacky and kitsch (I still have some, and they are so atrociously bad I can’t even bring myself to give them away, so I am contemplating committing sacrilege and simply burning them). Anyone can use photoshop, but to do so masterfully requires much experience, an eye for detail, and a good dose of artistic flair. Keep in mind also this deck was first published in 2003, so the digital art packages at the time didn’t offer anywhere near the possibilities open now.
I have had this deck for about ten years now, and I have read with it for myself and others, finding it to be highly applicable to questions of a practical nature. Perhaps its charm lies in the beauty and grace it brings to the readings, having a gentle, calm and soothing energy, but also a richness in imagery and decoration.
The card stock is fairly thick, meaning that while it helps keep the cards in good condition over time, it does not shuffle as smoothly as thinner, glossier cards. Personally, I love the feel of the cards despite this, as they don’t feel flimsy or too plasticy (if that’s a word).
Overall I score this deck highly for its visual richness and the thoughtful way the imagery is arranged to keep in line with the Rider Waite Smith tradition. The choice of artworks selected for each cards adds a beauty and aesthetic showcasing the skills of great painters of the time. The Golden Tarot has become one of my old time favourite decks for both practical application and enjoyment of its beautiful images.