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Profiles

  • Johann Jakob Eckert (1750 - 1819)
  • John Jordan Upchurch (1820 - 1887)
    John Jordan Upchurch, founder of the Ancient Order of United Workmen, was born on a farm in Franklin County, one of four children of Ambrose and Elizabeth Hill Upchurch. After 1824, when his father...
  • John Mansfield, ll, Esq. (1601 - 1674)
    Biography John Mansfield was born about 1601 (aged 34 on 13 April 1635), son of John Mansfield. Came From London to Massachusetts Bau in 1635 on the "Susan & Ellen." (On 13 Apr 1635, Jo[hn] Mansfield...
  • Axel Hjalmar Göransson (1878 - 1939)
    Goldsmith and jeweller. Emigrated from Sweden to USA in 1908. In Sweden he was called "Hjalmar", but in the US he was called "Axel". United States World War I Draft Registrations, 1917-1918 A...
  • Hermanus Grevink (1782 - 1844)
    Master Silversmith

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