Help me describe a (physically) beautiful, elaborate book

I’m having a brain fart, you see.

Of course, this is post twelve billion and seventy-nine about my novel-in-progress. Quite explanation: the main character’s older sister, Rosemary, is turning 19. She and her brother have, for the last three years, each gotten mysterious presents from an anonymous gift-giver on every birthday & Xmas. The gifts arrive in the mail and are sometimes quite elaborate. Rosemary performs excerpts from James Weldon Johnson’s poetry collection God’s Trombones regularly at church, and her paperback copy is falling to pieces because it’s been read so much. This year’s gift is an improvemement on her current one; the copy she has is clearly unique, as if crated by magic, not the cheap paperback this book is published as in the real world. Currently I describe it thus:

Rosemary held up a slender volume. “It’s a book—a new copy of God’s Trombones. Really nice, too—leatherbound with vellum paper and gold engraving on the cover and color plates inside.”

I’m not really satisfied with that description. For one thing I can’t, for the life of me, remember what the proper name is for the gold edging you’ll sometimes see around Bibles & such; does anybody know? Second, I just think I’ve chosen the wrong details,or some of the wrong details, here; the vellum paper in particular seems wrong.

To ask the question a different way: Think of your favorite book; if you were going to get a really fancy copy made, as much for its visual and tactile qualities as for its cntents, how would you want it made?

Thanks in advance to anybody who troubles to answer.

Reading that certainly gives me the impression of a fancy-looking book. I would just note that it feels like one too many “ands” and cut it to:

You don’t need to describe every detail covering every inch of the book - just the key details which communicate the idea you’re trying to communicate, here: it’s a fancy-looking book.

Likely you’re right; I just don’t like the vellum paper, for some reason,and would rather use the word GILDING!

I just thought of it. Gilding, gilt.

This should help: is for sale | HugeDomains

I like the word “gossamer”. Can you put “gossamer” in there somewhere? Thanks.

Richly textured oxblood calfskin leather cover, with lettering stamped in gold leaf.

Handsewn binding.

Beautiful peacock green endsheets.

Color plates between signatures in two locations

Text handwritten in an elaborate script or handset in Garamond on a Gutenberg-style press, so you can feel the type on the pages as well as see it.

Maybe an “ex libris” sticker carefully attached to the inside cover, with her name on it.

I thought the term you were looking for for the gold edge was “deckle edge,” but that’s a ragged edge to the paper. Some folks find it attractive.

Many thanks! “After I conquer the earth, your death shall be quick & painless.”

I really like that oil-on-water, almost psychedelic swirly pattern they have on the inside cover of some old books (sorry, on the 'pastedown and ‘flyleaf’ :slight_smile: ) - a magical version would have this slowly shifting like currents in a polluted puddle.

How do you want readers to see Rosemary’s reaction? Is she supposed to be “oh holy shit, this is AWESOME?” totally geeked out, or something different? The way it’s written, to me, doesn’t really convey excitement. It seems more analytical and acknowledging that it’s nice because of those fancy things.

I like the way you think!

The reaction is more…well, I suppose you might say bemused. She and her brother have been receiving the anonymous gifts twice a year each (at birthdays & Xmas) four a couple of years; so when she tells him about it, she begins, “Well, Wonder Twins, we have yet another in our series of mysterious occurrences.”

I have an old book, titled Cranford. I bought it for how it looks. It is a smallish book, not much larger than a paperback, the leather binding is soft and smooth, each page is gilded on the edge and the text is nestled in a frame of beautiful botanical designs. Just touching each page is magical. You can feel the love that went in to making this book with every page you turn.