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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A goldsmith is a metalworker who specializes in working with gold and other precious metals. Since ancient times the techniques of a Goldsmith have evolved very little in order to produce items of jewelry of quality standards. In modern times actual Goldsmiths are rare. Historically goldsmiths have also made flatware, platters, goblets, decorative and serviceable utensils, and ceremonial or religious items, but the rising prices of precious metals have curtailed the making of such items to a large degree. Goldsmiths must be skilled in forming metal through filing, soldering, sawing, forging, casting, and polishing metal. Traditionally, these skills had been passed along through apprenticeships, however, more recently Jewelry Arts Schools specializing solely in teaching goldsmithing and a multitude of skills falling under the jewelry arts umbrella are available. Many universities and junior colleges also offer goldsmithing, silversmithing and metal arts fabrication as a part of their fine arts curriculum.

Contents

The nature of gold

15th century engraving of the goldsmith, and patron saint of goldsmiths, Saint Eligius in his workshop.

Coupled with aesthetic attractiveness and rarity, gold's physical properties have given gold and items made from it an unparalleled place in human history. Gold is so malleable and ductile that even primitive tools can work it to a high level of detail. It is fairly easily "pressure welded", which is to say that two small pieces can be pounded together to make one larger piece, similar to clay. Gold is a noble metal— it does not react with most elements. That means it is usually found in its native form, that it will last virtually forever without oxidization and tarnishing, and that it is easily melted, fused and cast without the problems of oxides and gas that are problematic with bronzes, for example. Throughout history, people have found its lustre and color to be aesthetically pleasing.

Since prehistoric times, mankind has been able to simply pick up gold off the ground, and anyone with two rocks would be able to form it into some pleasing or useful item. A major part of that history has been played by those who work in gold: goldsmiths.

History

Goldsmith in the mid-17th century.

Gold has been worked by humans in all cultures where the metal is available, either indigenously or imported, and the history of these activities is extensive. Superbly made objects from the ancient cultures of Europe, Africa, India, Asia, South America, Mesoamerica, and North America grace museums and collections around the world. Some pieces date back thousands of years and were made using many techniques that are still used by modern goldsmiths.

In medieval Europe goldsmiths were organized in guilds and were usually one of the most important and wealthy of the guilds in a city. The guild kept records of members and the marks they used on their products. These records are very useful to historians, were they to survive. Goldsmiths often acted as bankers, since they dealt in gold and had sufficient security for the safe storage of valuable items. In the Middle Ages, goldsmithing normally included silversmithing as well, but the brass workers and workers in other base metals were normally in a separate guild since the trades were not allowed to overlap. Usually jewelers were goldsmiths. The Khudabadi Sindhi Swarankar community is one of the oldest community in goldsmithing in India, whose superb gold art works were displayed at The Great Exhibition of 1851 in London

The printmaking technique of engraving developed among goldsmiths in Germany around 1430, who had long used the technique on their metal pieces. The notable engravers of the 1400s either were goldsmiths, as was Master E. S., or the sons of goldsmiths, such as Martin Schongauer and Albrecht Dürer

The modern goldsmith

It has been said that goldsmithing is the only art which uses some aspect of all other arts. Thus a fully realized goldsmith might have a wide array of skills and knowledge at their disposal. Gold, being the most malleable metal of all, offers unique opportunities for the worker. In today's world a wide variety of other metals, especially platinum alloys, may also be used extensively. 24 karat gold is generally called fine gold, and is the starting place for working with gold. Usually the gold is alloyed into any of various blends and colors, and the goldsmith may have some skill in that process. Then the gold may be cast into some item, usually with the lost wax casting process, or it may be used to fabricate the work directly in metal. In the latter case, the goldsmith will use a variety of tools and machinery, including the rolling mill, the drawplate, and perhaps swage blocks and other forming tools to make the metal into shapes needed to build the intended piece. Then parts are fabricated through a wide variety of processes and assembled by soldering. It is a testament to the history and evolution of the trade that those skills have reached an extremely high level of attainment and skill over time. A fine goldsmith can and will work to a tolerance approaching that of precision machinery, but largely using only his eyes and hand tools. Quite often the goldsmith's job involves the making of mountings for gemstones, in which case they are often referred to as jewelers.

'Jeweler' however is a term mostly reserved for a person who deals in jewellery (buys and sells) and not to be confused with a goldsmith, silversmith, gemologist, diamond cutter and diamond setters.

For further insight into the art of goldsmithing see bench jewelers.

Notable goldsmiths

See Category:Goldsmiths and Category:Silversmiths

See also


Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

English

Proper noun

Singular
Goldsmith

Plural
-

Goldsmith

  1. An English surname derived from the trade name goldsmith.

Bible wiki

Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From BibleWiki


(Neh. 3:8,32; Isa. 40:19; 41:7; 46:6). The word so rendered means properly a founder or finer.

This entry includes text from Easton's Bible Dictionary, 1897.

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Simple English

A goldsmith is a person who makes objects using gold or other precious metals.

History

5,000 years ago, ancient Sumerians made bowls out of gold. Many cultures used gold for making Jewelry or objects used in religious worship.

Goldsmiths use methods such as soldering, sawing, forging, casting, and polishing to make things out of gold. Goldsmiths traditionally teach their trade to apprentices. Today, Jewelry Arts Schools teach goldsmithing and other similar skills.

Famous goldsmiths

  • Paul de Lamerie
  • Paul Storr
  • Lorenzo Ghiberti
  • Benvenuto Cellini
  • Johannes Gutenberg
  • House of Fabergé

Other pages








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