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Profiles

  • Joseph Lucas (c.1748 - 1813)
    Notes Lieux info: Québec (mariage), Berthier-en-Haut (décès) Lieu de naissance inconnu selon PRDH. Joseph était maître orfèvre de métier. Sour...
  • Timothy Phelps Shepard (1787 - 1837)
    Per American Silversmiths: Family Links Spouses/Children: Florilla Searle Timothy Phelps Shepard Born: 3 Jul 1787, Hartford CT Marriage: Florilla Searle on 9 Feb 1811 in Northampton MA Died: 27...
  • John Hall (1642 - 1691)
    The son of John Hall (d 1647) & Rebecca Swayne, John Hall, was born March 8, 1642. He removed to England, and wrote to his mother, Mrs. Symonds, letters which are on file. The pioneers of Massachus...
  • Samuel Layfield (c.1646 - 1709)
    Samuel Layfield of St. Michael Cornhill, London, goldsmith
  • Peter Moses Gottheimer (1800 - 1893)
    10 King William Street, Charing Cross (JC 1863) cf.: 1841 Census Newgate Street, London, Middlesex, England Relation to head Name Age Head (implied) Peter Gottheimer 40 - 44 Levy Zacharia...

Bring your precious metal working ancestors on over to this project. Project collaborators, feel free to update the overview, especially the "notables" and "sources" sections.

I hope from use of this project to see a human family history of working with gold and silver, through history and around the world.

Profiles must be set to public.

Goldsmiths

A goldsmith is a metalworker who specializes in working with gold and other precious metals. Historically goldsmiths have also made silverware, platters, goblets, decorative and serviceable utensils, and ceremonial or religious items.

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, 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, 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. Many jewelers were also goldsmiths.

The Khudabadi Sindhi Swarankar 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 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 15th century were either goldsmiths, such as Master E. S., or the sons of goldsmiths, such as Martin Schongauer and Albrecht Dürer.

Silversmiths

A silversmith is a craftsman who makes objects from silver or gold. The terms 'silversmith' and 'goldsmith' are not synonyms as the techniques, training, history, and guilds are or were largely the same but the end product varies greatly as does the scale of objects created.

Silversmithing is the art of turning silver and gold sheetmetal into hollowware (dishes, bowls, porringers, cups, vases, ewers, urns, etc.), flatware (silverware), and other articles of Household silver.

In Ethiopia the trade of silversmith was practised by the Jews of Ethiopia, otherwise known as the Falasha. The activity was considered to be inferior to others, as reliant on manual skills.

In the ancient Near East the value of silver to gold being less, allowed a silversmith to produce objects and store these as stock. Ogden states that according to an edict written by Diocletian, a silversmith was able to charge, 75, 150 or 300 denarii for material produce (per Roman pound). At that time guilds of silversmith's formed to look out for the welfare of their number.

Silversmiths in medieval Europe and England formed guilds and transmitted their tools and techniques to new generations via the apprentice tradition. Silverworking guilds often maintained consistency and upheld standards at the expense of innovation. Beginning in the 17th century, artisans emigrated to America and experienced fewer restrictions. As a result, silverworking was one of the trades that helped to inaugurate the shift to industrialization in America.

notable goldsmiths

  • Jocelyn Burton
  • Paul de Lamerie
  • Paul Storr
  • Lorenzo Ghiberti
  • Benvenuto Cellini
  • Johannes Gutenberg
  • House of Fabergé
  • Jean-Valentin Morel
  • Adrien Vachette

notable silversmiths

  • Jocelyn Burton
  • Kurt Aepli
  • Garrard & Co
  • Georg Jensen
  • Georges Cuyvers
  • Paul Revere, Colonial-American silversmith, manufacturer, and patriot
  • Robert Welch (designer)|Robert Welch
  • Jean-Valentin Morel, French jeweler and craftsman
  • Thomas Germain
  • François-Thomas Germain
  • Atsidi Sani (Old Smith in English),the first known Navajo silversmith.

Sources

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Gold and Silversmithing: A Judaic Tradition