Looks like they be molded pieces of gum paste or fondant, not piped. But I'm not a really a cake baker (as you can tell by my name), so I may not be right.
Yes it is done with royal piping, as all the work is on the cake. It looks to be done like a rope border, just starting small, going larger, then small again.
Mark your swag then start with a backwards lazy "S", going to the back of the first s. It is hard to explain, easy to show. Maybe someone else can explain it or has a tutorial on making rope borders.
Hi, I agree that it is piped royal icing, it is obviously a plain tube and looking at the edges of each swag it is a pretty small tube, perhaps a no. 4. i've dug out my notes from college and the desription for a rope border is as follows: Pipe spring shape in clockwise direcion, using even pressure and keeping bag horizontal. Continue piping to form the curve then stop piping and pull bag away in a half turn. So basically you just pipe a tightly coiled spring - as cakequeen50 said this would be so much easier to demonstrate than put into words.
I think looking at this cake more pressure was applied at the bottom of the sway to give it more depth. Then when the RI is dry it has been painted with gold luster.
thanks everyone for your help. I am going to try both techniques. I hope I can figure it out