Goldsmith

Goldsmith

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Encyclopedia
A goldsmith is a metalworker who specializes in working with gold
Gold
Gold is a chemical element with the symbol Au and an atomic number of 79. Gold is a dense, soft, shiny, malleable and ductile metal. Pure gold has a bright yellow color and luster traditionally considered attractive, which it maintains without oxidizing in air or water. Chemically, gold is a...

 and other precious metal
Precious metal
A precious metal is a rare, naturally occurring metallic chemical element of high economic value.Chemically, the precious metals are less reactive than most elements, have high lustre, are softer or more ductile, and have higher melting points than other metals...

s. 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, platter
Platter (dishware)
A platter is a large type of dishware used for serving food. It is a tray on which food is displayed and served to people. It can have oval, round, rectangular, or square shape. It can be made of metal, ceramic, or plastic. Plain and ornate platters suitable for more formal settings or occasions...

s, 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
File (tool)
A file is a metalworking and woodworking tool used to cut fine amounts of material from a workpiece. It most commonly refers to the hand tool style, which takes the form of a steel bar with a case hardened surface and a series of sharp, parallel teeth. Most files have a narrow, pointed tang at one...

, soldering
Brazing
Brazing is a metal-joining process whereby a filler metal is heated above and distributed between two or more close-fitting parts by capillary action. The filler metal is brought slightly above its melting temperature while protected by a suitable atmosphere, usually a flux...

, saw
Saw
A saw is a tool that uses a hard blade or wire with an abrasive edge to cut through softer materials. The cutting edge of a saw is either a serrated blade or an abrasive...

ing, forging
Forging
Forging is a manufacturing process involving the shaping of metal using localized compressive forces. Forging is often classified according to the temperature at which it is performed: '"cold," "warm," or "hot" forging. Forged parts can range in weight from less than a kilogram to 580 metric tons...

, casting, and polishing
Polishing
Polishing is the process of creating a smooth and shiny surface by rubbing it or using a chemical action, leaving a surface with a significant specular reflection In some materials polishing is also able to reduce diffuse reflection to...

 metal. Traditionally, these skills had been passed along through apprenticeship
Apprenticeship
Apprenticeship is a system of training a new generation of practitioners of a skill. Apprentices or protégés build their careers from apprenticeships...

s, 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.

Gold



Compared to other metals, gold is malleable, ductile, rare
Rare
-In music:* Rare , a band from Northern Ireland* Rare , a Serbian alternative rock band from Belgrade* Rare , an album by the progressive rock band Asia* Rare , a compilation album by David Bowie...

 and the only element
Chemical element
A chemical element is a pure chemical substance consisting of one type of atom distinguished by its atomic number, which is the number of protons in its nucleus. Familiar examples of elements include carbon, oxygen, aluminum, iron, copper, gold, mercury, and lead.As of November 2011, 118 elements...

 with a yellow
Yellow
Yellow is the color evoked by light that stimulates both the L and M cone cells of the retina about equally, with no significant stimulation of the S cone cells. Light with a wavelength of 570–590 nm is yellow, as is light with a suitable mixture of red and green...

 color
Color
Color or colour is the visual perceptual property corresponding in humans to the categories called red, green, blue and others. Color derives from the spectrum of light interacting in the eye with the spectral sensitivities of the light receptors...

; it is easily melted, fused and cast without the problems of oxides and gas that are problematic with bronze
Bronze
Bronze is a metal alloy consisting primarily of copper, usually with tin as the main additive. It is hard and brittle, and it was particularly significant in antiquity, so much so that the Bronze Age was named after the metal...

s, for example. It is fairly easy to "pressure weld", 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
Native Metal
A native metal is any metal that is found in its metallic form, either pure or as an alloy, in nature. Metals that can be found as native deposits singly and/or in alloys include aluminium, antimony, arsenic, bismuth, cadmium, chromium, cobalt, indium, iron, nickel, selenium, tantalum, tellurium,...

 form lasting indefinitely without oxidization and tarnishing.

History


Gold
Gold
Gold is a chemical element with the symbol Au and an atomic number of 79. Gold is a dense, soft, shiny, malleable and ductile metal. Pure gold has a bright yellow color and luster traditionally considered attractive, which it maintains without oxidizing in air or water. Chemically, gold is a...

 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 guild
Guild
A guild is an association of craftsmen in a particular trade. The earliest types of guild were formed as confraternities of workers. They were organized in a manner something between a trade union, a cartel, and a secret society...

s 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, when they survive, are very useful to historians. 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
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

, goldsmithing normally included silversmithing as well, but the brass workers and workers in other base metal
Base metal
In chemistry, the term base metal is used informally to refer to a metal that oxidizes or corrodes relatively easily, and reacts variably with diluted hydrochloric acid to form hydrogen. Examples include iron, nickel, lead and zinc...

s were normally in a separate guild since the trades were not allowed to overlap. Many jewelers were also goldsmiths. The Khudabadi Sindhi Swarankar
Khudabadi Sindhi Swarankar
The Khudabadi Sindhi Swarankar is a Kshatriya Hindu cultural group of India, historically associated with the city of Khudabad as well as city of Hyderabad of Sindh region of modern Pakistan prior to the Partition of India...

 community is one of the oldest communities in goldsmithing in India, whose superb gold artworks were displayed at The Great Exhibition of 1851 in London.

The printmaking
Printmaking
Printmaking is the process of making artworks by printing, normally on paper. Printmaking normally covers only the process of creating prints with an element of originality, rather than just being a photographic reproduction of a painting. Except in the case of monotyping, the process is capable...

 technique of engraving
Engraving
Engraving is the practice of incising a design on to a hard, usually flat surface, by cutting grooves into it. The result may be a decorated object in itself, as when silver, gold, steel, or glass are engraved, or may provide an intaglio printing plate, of copper or another metal, for printing...

 developed among goldsmiths in Germany around 1430, who had long used the technique on their metal pieces. The notable engravers of the 15th century were either goldsmiths, such as Master E. S.
Master E. S.
Master E. S. , is an unidentified German engraver, goldsmith, and printmaker of the late Gothic period. He was the first major German artist of old master prints and was greatly copied and imitated. The name assigned to him by art historians, Master E. S., is derived from the monogram, E...

, or the sons of goldsmiths, such as Martin Schongauer
Martin Schongauer
Martin Schongauer was a German engraver and painter. He was the most important German printmaker before Albrecht Dürer....

 and Albrecht Dürer
Albrecht Dürer
Albrecht Dürer was a German painter, printmaker, engraver, mathematician, and theorist from Nuremberg. His prints established his reputation across Europe when he was still in his twenties, and he has been conventionally regarded as the greatest artist of the Northern Renaissance ever since...

.

Current situation



A goldsmith might have a wide array of skills and knowledge at their disposal. Gold
Gold
Gold is a chemical element with the symbol Au and an atomic number of 79. Gold is a dense, soft, shiny, malleable and ductile metal. Pure gold has a bright yellow color and luster traditionally considered attractive, which it maintains without oxidizing in air or water. Chemically, gold is a...

, 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
Platinum
Platinum is a chemical element with the chemical symbol Pt and an atomic number of 78. Its name is derived from the Spanish term platina del Pinto, which is literally translated into "little silver of the Pinto River." It is a dense, malleable, ductile, precious, gray-white transition metal...

 alloys, may also be used extensively. 24 karat is pure gold, and was historically known as fine gold. However, 24 karat gold is rarely used, because it is so soft, so it is usually alloy
Alloy
An alloy is a mixture or metallic solid solution composed of two or more elements. Complete solid solution alloys give single solid phase microstructure, while partial solutions give two or more phases that may or may not be homogeneous in distribution, depending on thermal history...

ed to make it stronger and create different colors; goldsmiths may have some skill in that process. Then the gold may be cast into some item, usually with the lost wax casting
Lost wax casting
Lost-wax casting sometimes called by the French name of cire perdue is the process by which a metal sculpture is cast from an artist's sculpture. Intricate works can be achieved by this method, primarily depending on the carver's skills...

 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 block
Swage block
A swage block is a large, heavy block of cast iron or steel used in smithing, with variously-sized holes in its face and usually with forms on the sides....

s 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
Brazing
Brazing is a metal-joining process whereby a filler metal is heated above and distributed between two or more close-fitting parts by capillary action. The filler metal is brought slightly above its melting temperature while protected by a suitable atmosphere, usually a flux...

. 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 gemstone
Gemstone
A gemstone or gem is a piece of mineral, which, in cut and polished form, is used to make jewelry or other adornments...

s, 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.

Notable goldsmiths


  • Jocelyn Burton
    Jocelyn Burton
    Jocelyn Burton was born in Wales in 1946 and is the daughter of the famous Flight Lieutenant Roland Burton. Jocelyn intended to read modern languages at Cambridge, but at a late stage decided to train as a silversmith at Sir John Cass College in London where she studied under Jack Stapley. In 1967...

  • Paul de Lamerie
    Paul de Lamerie
    Paul de Lamerie was an English silversmith. The Victoria and Albert Museum describes him as the "greatest silversmith working in England in the 18th century". Though his mark raises the market value of silver, his output was large and not all his pieces are outstanding...

  • Paul Storr
    Paul Storr
    Paul Storr was an English silversmith, sculptor, and designer working in the Neoclassical style during the late eighteenth and early nineteentch centuries...

  • Lorenzo Ghiberti
    Lorenzo Ghiberti
    Lorenzo Ghiberti , born Lorenzo di Bartolo, was an Italian artist of the early Renaissance best known for works in sculpture and metalworking.-Early life:...

  • Benvenuto Cellini
    Benvenuto Cellini
    Benvenuto Cellini was an Italian goldsmith, sculptor, painter, soldier and musician, who also wrote a famous autobiography. He was one of the most important artists of Mannerism.-Youth:...

  • Johannes Gutenberg
  • House of Fabergé
  • Chandrkant Hiralal Soni
  • Rakesh Soni
  • Rajeshwar Soni

Contemporary goldsmiths

  • Andrea Cagnetti - Akelo
    Andrea Cagnetti - Akelo
    Andrea Cagnetti, also known in the artistic world as Akelo is an Italian goldsmith, designer, and sculptor...

  • William Claude Harper
    William Claude Harper
    William Harper is an American jewelry artist who was born in Bucyrus, Ohio, in 1944. He received a BS in 1966 and an MS in education in 1967, both from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. He also studied advanced enameling techniques at the Cleveland Institute of Art.Harper began...

  • Mary Lee Hu
    Mary Lee Hu
    -Life:Hu first became fascinated with metalwork during high school introductory courses. She later explored more work with metals during a summer camp. Hu has always wanted to be a visual artist. During her undergraduate education Hu developed her skills and continued to work with small scale...

  • Linda MacNeil
    Linda MacNeil
    Linda MacNeil is an American artist specializing in contemporary jewelry that combines metalwork with glass and sometimes precious stones to create miniature sculptures.-Education, influences and characteristics of the work:...

  • Vytautas Matulionis
  • Gary Lee Noffke
  • Nicole Shannon
  • Robert Spotten

See also

  • Society of North American Goldsmiths
    Society of North American Goldsmiths
    The Society of North American Goldsmiths was founded in 1969. It is an international nonprofit organization that serves as the primary organization of jewelers and metal artists in North America. Anyone interested in the related fields may become a member...

  • Old master print
    Old master print
    An old master print is a work of art produced by a printing process within the Western tradition . A date of about 1830 is usually taken as marking the end of the period whose prints are covered by this term. The main techniques concerned are woodcut, engraving and etching, although there are...

    , engraving
    Engraving
    Engraving is the practice of incising a design on to a hard, usually flat surface, by cutting grooves into it. The result may be a decorated object in itself, as when silver, gold, steel, or glass are engraved, or may provide an intaglio printing plate, of copper or another metal, for printing...

    , and niello
    Niello
    Niello is a black mixture of copper, silver, and lead sulphides, used as an inlay on engraved or etched metal. It can be used for filling in designs cut from metal...

     - goldsmith's techniques or related trades in the Middle Ages
  • Bench jeweler
    Bench jeweler
    A bench jeweler is an artisan who uses a combination of jewelry-making skills to make and repair jewelry. The jewelry making arts can be subdivided into a very great many categories of specialized skills...

  • Toreutics
    Toreutics
    Toreutics is a term, relatively rare in English, for artistic metalworking, by hammering gold or silver , engraving, Repoussé and chasing to form minute detailed reliefs or small engraved patterns. Toreutics can include metal-engraving - forward-pressure linear metal removal with a...

  • Persian-Sassanide art patterns
  • Jewelers' Row
  • Silver (household)
    Silver (household)
    Household silver or silverware includes dishware, cutlery and other household items made of sterling, Britannia or Sheffield plate silver. The term is often extended to items made of stainless steel...


External links