Large 7.5 ounce California gold nugget

The Art Of The Goldsmith


The Metal Working Arts of The Gold Smith

Long ago, mankind mastered the use of gold to make objects of beauty for special use and adornment. About 3200 B.C. in Egypt the wife of King Djer was laid to rest.  For gold and bracelets circled her arms.  In the early 1900s when the Queen's tomb was uncovered the bracelets were still in place: gold beads interspersed with turquoise and lapis lazuli, a golden rosette and golden birds for decoration. These are the earliest existing examples of the goldsmiths great art.  They're sophisticated techniques suggest the goldsmith’s part already have a long history in Egypt before the Queen was buried.  Independently, across the Atlantic great artists of South America had also independently discovered the techniques of working gold.

Ancient goldsmiths use gold in many ways to reflect the Williams and wishes of their royal masters.  In Babylon, Sumer, Persia and other civilizations, they worked at their golden trade.  They mix their own batches of gold metal alloys, zealously guarding the formulas which determined its quality.  They developed a jewelry making techniques which are still used today such as the lost wax casting method, die casting, gold leaf, chasing, enameling and filigree.

For thousands of years, gold was scarce in most parts of the civilized world.  With the Spanish conquest, vast amounts of gold from Mexico and elsewhere in the New World were brought to Europe and the great age of Western goldsmith a truly began.  It would flourish, with a few interruptions, all through the coming centuries.  Beautiful gold containing objects of art work soon filled the churches and homes of the richest citizens in Europe.


In the Middle Ages the goldsmith was the most highly honored of all artists.  Gold was still largely limited to the Royal few, and goldsmiths were held in such high esteem that one Keene, at least, preferred their company to that of his fellow rulers.  When Czar Peter the Great visited Augustus the strong, King of Saxony and Poland, he lived in the home of the Court goldsmith rather than that of his Royal host.  The Czar preferred to learn the fine art of goldsmith thing to the fine art of politics.

The importance of the goldsmith extended beyond his fine art, as circumstances enabled these artisans to become the first bankers in recorded history.  In return for holding his customers gold, the goldsmith issued receipts, which in essence became the first paper money.  This was the beginning of the gold standard.

Today, in the 20th century, gold craftsman still enjoy the respect and appreciation of a world enamored with the beauty and mystique of this precious metal.  European nobility from centuries ago might have found it hard to believe that the time would come when new gold discoveries and the greater distribution of wealth would make the benefits and pleasures of gold ownership almost universally available.


Want to know a little bit more about this crazy prospector guy? Well, here's a little bit more about me, and how I got into prospecting: Chris' Prospecting Story  

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