Where Do I Begin?

by Jamie Hall on November 1, 2010

Note: This is an old post, that had to be re-posted during the transfer to Primitivemethod.org

My first priority is gathering information. The sources that I’m expecting to use are:

  • My current employment. Many modern techniques echo the past, and many tools have been the same basic shapes for centuries.
  • Short courses at jewellery colleges. See above.
  • Archaeological finds. Tools and jewellery from the past tells us a lot about the techniques used to make them. Experimental archaeology and archaeometallurgy can also provide more detailed information on the metals and materials used.
  • Books. Some books on modern jewellery contain old techniques, although many will use materials unknown in the early middle ages. I’ll also be looking for old books at jewellery and book fairs. If you know of any good titles, please let me know – particularly if they online .PDF files or similar. I’ve got a translated .PDF of “On Diverse Arts” by Theophilus Presbyter, but it is in a poor format for reading at the moment. I’m also reading a copy of “The Goldsmiths Handbook” by George E. Gee, from 1909. Although it is way too modern for the period I’m exploring, it takes a broader view of the jewellery workshop than many of the modern books seem to.
  • Internet. Never a definitive or authoritative source on any subject, but almost anything can be discovered, if only you know they right keywords to search for. Despite it’s reputation amongst academics, Wikipedia remains a great way to read around a subject, and contains articles and lots of jewellery processes, like Cloisonné and Cupellation. I’ll also be on the look out for blogs and other websites with a similar focus to my own.

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