Blind tooling has been used as a means of decorating books since the early days of bookbinding, and can be traced back to the 7th century, perhaps even earlier. There is reason to believe that the technique was brought to Europe from the Mediterranean area about the same time as other Coptic techniques being used, possibly by imported craftsmen. However, little is known of blind-tooled bindings until the 12th century and early part of the 13th. In one form or another, the technique has been used continuously up to the present day. During the 16th to 18th centuries, its use was more or less limited to inferior calf- and sheepskin bindings. At the end of the 18th and early 19th centuries, blind tooling was often used on fine bindings in conjunction with gold, also called "antique tooling."