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The Industries of Scotland
Manufacture of Plate and Jewellery


MANY centuries before coal or iron or any other mineral was known to them, the inhabitants of Scotland were acquainted with gold. Found in the river-beds of their own rugged country, the precious metal was to them an object of delight; and with the aid of stone hammers they formed it into rude ornaments for the decoration of their persons. Antiquarian research has brought to light many curious and interesting facts relating to the use of both gold and silver in this country in prehistoric times, and numerous articles of ornament fashioned in these metals are preserved in the Museum of the Society of Antiquaries in Edinburgh. Coming down to historic times, we find that the Scotch had such a love for trinkets, that the Norsemen in their sagas reproachfully characterised them as "forlorn wearers of rings." In the records of the twelfth century, there is distinct evidence that gold was found in Scotland; for David I. conveyed by charter to the abbey of Dunfermline one-tenth part of all the precious metal found in Fife and Kinross. If one-tenth of the gold found in these counties was considered a fit gift from a king to a favourite ecclesiastical institution, we may conclude that the entire quantity obtained was considerable. Sir David Lindsay, the tutor of James V., in recounting the advantages of Scotland, says:—"Of everilk mettell we have the riche mynis, baith gold, silver, and stanes precious." James IV. had opened gold mines at Leadhills, and the search for the precious metal was continued by James V., who obtained the service of foreign miners, and conducted the operations in a more systematic manner than formerly. It is said that his enterprise was rewarded by obtaining gold to the value of L.300,000. At a later period gold was got at Wanlockhead by a Dutchman named Greig. The gold found by him was made into a basin capable of holding an English gallon of liquid. The basin was filled with coins also made of Scotch gold, and presented by the Regent Morton to the King of France. One of the Earls of Hopetoun caused a search for gold to be made in the same locality at a later period; but the expenses were greater than the value of the metal found, and the adventure was abandoned, though not before sufficient gold had been obtained to form a small piece of plate. It is recorded by Boethius, Buchanan, and others, that gold was at one time found in remunerative quantities in Glengabber, a tributary of Megget Water in Peeblesshire. Mention is made of a nugget weighing thirty ounces having been found by some of the early miners. The largest piece ever got at Wanlockhead weighs four or five ounces, and is preserved in the British Museum. A grand scheme for the formation of a mining company to search for gold in Scot¬land was submitted to the Council of Queen Elizabeth. The company was to consist of twenty-four landed gentlemen, each of whom was to pay L.300 in support of the company. The prospect of suc¬cess not being considered strong enough to induce gentlemen to embark in the scheme, it was suggested that each shareholder should be knighted, and called the "Knight of the Golden Mine," or the "Golden Knight," but the company never was formed.

Emma Walker - Craft Scotland at Collect 2010

Geologists have at various times expressed a belief that gold exists in Scotland in considerable quantities. At a conversazione of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, which was held in February 1863, Dr Lauder Lindsay read a paper on the gold fields of Scotland. He pointed out the general resemblance of the auriferous slates of Otago, in New Zealand, to the metamorphic slates of the Grampians, and discussed the question of the probable diffusion of gold in the Silurian slates and their derived "drifts," or alluvium in Scotland. Nuggets, he showed, had already been found in Lead- hills, Tweeddale, Breadalbane, and in Sutherland. In two other quarters Dr Lindsay tried to excite interest in this important social question, namely, at the British Association for the Advancement of Science in 1867, and at the Geological Society of Edinburgh in 1867 and 1868. In the "Transactions" of the latter for 1868, will be found his paper on "The Gold and Gold Fields of Scotland."

Dr Lindsay, it appears, made a personal survey of the gold fields of New Zealand, and it was when visiting these that he was struck with the similarity, as respects physical geography and geology, be-tween the two countries; and on his return to Scotland surveyed it afresh, to see how far such a parallelism really existed. He found the rocks of a great part of Scotland similar to those of most auriferous countries, and came to the conclusion that gold is much more extensively and generally diffused over Scotland than had been hitherto supposed. He points particularly to the greater part of the counties of Sutherland and Ross, of Inverness and Argyll, north of the Caledonian Canal; and to parts of Aberdeen, Banff, Kincardine, Perth, Forfar, Stirling, and Dumbarton, north of the Tay; also to various counties south of the Forth, where gold has been found or may be looked for. Geologically, the area of the Scottish gold fields corresponds to that occupied by the Lower Silurian strata and their drifts; in the south, represented by the greywackes and graptolitic slates of the Lowthers; in the north, by the micaceous schists of the Grampians. But it is not necessarily confined to the Silurian area, and has been found in other countries in rocks of many different characters and ages. It is obvious, however, that the extent to which it occurs in Scotland can only be determined by systematic investigation, equivalent at least to the "prospecting" of gold-diggers, and Dr Lindsay suggests that the investigation should form part of the duties of the staff of the National Geological Survey.

Actual discoveries of gold have been made at different times in the following localities:—

Sutherlandshire—Kildonan on Helmsdale Water.

Perthshire- 1. Breadalbane—area of Loch Tay and head waters of the Tay (Tyndrum and Taymouth). 2. Upper Strathearn—area of Loch Earn and head waters of the Earn (Glen Lednock—streams falling from the north into Loch Earn; Ardvoirlich, south side of Loch Earn; Glenturrit). 3. Glenalmond—Glenquoich and other valleys of the Grampians.

Forfarshire—Clova district—"Braes of Angus," Edzell and Glenesk.

Aberdeenshire—area of the Dee (Braemar, Invercauld, coast about Aberdeen).

Argyllshire—Dunoon.

Lanarkshire—Head waters of the Clyde, including the rich Crawford Moor or Leadhills district (Elvan water, Glengonner, Glencaple, Mennlock and Wenlock, Short Cleuch, Lamington Burn).

Peeblesshire—Head waters of the Tweed (Manor water, which flows north to the Tweed; Megget water, which flows south to St Mary's Loch; various feeders of the Yarrow; Glengabber).

Dumfriesshire—Head waters of the Annan (Moffatdale—streams falling into Moffat water; Hartfell range above Dobbs Linn)

A gentlemen belonging to Sutherlandshire, while engaged digging gold in Australia or New Zealand, was struck with the likeness which the geological formation bore to that of his native county. Having returned home, he set out in the end of last year to visit the quartz reefs of Kildonan, and was not long in satisfying himself that the rocks were not only the same in appearance, but that they also contained gold. The report that gold was to be found in their neighbourhood created a deal of excitement among the natives of the district, who soon flocked to the strath of Kildonan, and began gold- washing. Their labours so far have been confined to the bed of the stream; and the quantity of gold obtained has not been very encouraging; but experienced men are confident, that were permission obtained to conduct mining operations in a systematic style, the results would be highly remunerative. The superior of the soil is having the ground tested, and should he be satisfied that it would be advantageous to both the diggers and himself, the ground will be let off into "claims," so that there is a probability of extraordinary scenes being witnessed in the lonely glens of Sutherlandshire, if not in other quarters.

There are no silver mines in Scotland; but the lead obtained from the mines at Wanlockhead contains a proportion of silver, which is extracted. The quantity of silver thus obtained is from 6000 to 8000 ounces a-year, worth from L.1500 to L.2000. The silver produced from lead ore in the United Kingdom amounts to about 700,000 ounces a-year, and a very small quantity is produced from native silver ore. From official returns, it appears that from 500 to 5000 ounces of gold per annum are produced by mines in the United Kingdom.

A love for finery seems to have been a conspicuous trait in the character of several of the early rulers of Scotland; and when trade was opened with some of the Continental countries in the twelfth century, among the first things imported were vessels of gold and silver, armour, &c.; and a great show of these articles was made at the, court, and among the nobility. In those days the churchmen were the great masters of the necessary and ornamental arts, and were so jealous of their skill, that they could not afford to allow foreigners to have the sole privilege of supplying such articles as plate and jewellery; and accordingly they turned their attention to working in the precious metals. They became goldsmiths, jewellers, and lapidaries, and soon succeeded in making articles which competed with some measure of success against foreign productions. This was the beginning of the art of working in gold and silver in Scotland. In the course of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries the trade assumed considerable importance. Ladies of the court and nobility wore tiaras, girdles, brooches, and earrings of gold and silver, set with native pearls and precious stones; while the armour and horse-trappings of the gentlemen were, according to some accounts, most gorgeously decorated with the same materials. The plate used in the churches was of the most superb description. Though the native goldsmiths and jewellers had attained great expertness in their art, their handiwork was not sufficiently grand for the taste of some of the nobles, who obtained splendid specimens of armour, jewellery, and gold and silver work, from Italy and Flanders.

Some idea of the kind and quantity of plate and jewellery in the possession of old Scotch families may be obtained from an inventory of the jewels and valuables of the Campbells of Glenurchy, drawn up in 1640. Among the articles were a target of enamelled gold, set with diamonds, topazes, rubies, and sapphires—a gift from King James V.; a round jewel of gold, set with precious stones, among which were twenty-nine diamonds, and four great rubies—the gift of Queen Anne; a gold ring, set with a diamond shaped like a heart, and other diamonds; a silver brooch, set with precious stones; sixty-six gold buttons; twelve silver plates; four great silver chargers; two silver basins and jugs, partly gilt; one dozen silver trenchers; one dozen silver saucers; a great silver cup, partly gilt, and bearing the arms and names of the Laird of Duntrons; seven other silver goblets and cups, partly gilt; a great silver cup, with lid partly gilt, and ornamented with raised work; an engraved silver cup; three silver jugs for vinegar; three silver salt cellars; two bowls, with silver lips and feet; eleven plain silver spoons, with the laird's name on them; six silver spoons, with " round knapit endis overgilt; " and thirty-eight other silver spoons. It is evident that several of the articles mentioned were of foreign manufacture; but there is ground for supposing that a considerable number were home¬made, and, moreover, that similar collections of plate were in the possession of other Scotch families at the date of the above inventory.

About a century before that time one of the most important trades in Edinburgh was- that of the goldsmith; and the city possesses in George Heriot's Hospital a substantial token of the prosperity which rewarded some of the workers in the precious metals. George Heriot succeeded his father in the business of goldsmith and jeweller, and in 1597 was appointed goldsmith to Anne of Denmark, the queen of James VI. Subsequently he received the appointment of goldsmith and jeweller to the King. Upon His Majesty's accession to the throne of England, Heriot, whose skill in his trade would appear to have been remarkable for those days, accompanied the king. He died in London in 1624, leaving a fortune of L.50,000, which he had accumulated in thirty-eight years; and nearly half of that amount was bequeathed in trust to the Town Council and ministers of Edinburgh, for the purpose of building an Hospital in Edinburgh for the maintenance and education of indigent children, the sons of burgesses of the city.

The trade of the goldsmith was made the subject of legislative enactments in very early times. Gold and silver in a state of purity would be too soft and ductile to be used in the manufacture of plate or coins, and, accordingly, it is necessary to add a certain proportion of the baser metals. The minimum quantity of alloy required is well known; but as great facilities existed for the workers in the metals unduly increasing that quantity, and as they had availed themselves of those facilities to an extent warranting the interference of the State, a law was passed in 1238 which prohibited the use of gold of less than a certain standard of fineness, or of silver of a lower standard than the coin of the realm. The mode of testing the quality of gold and silver was by means of the "touchstone," a black stone of close fine grain, on which the article to be tested was rubbed, the quality of metal being determined by the shades of colour presented by the metal which adhered to the stone. The assaying or testing of the precious metals was a privilege conferred on the Goldsmiths' Company of England in the year 1300 by an Act of Edward L The wardens of the craft were empowered to go from shop to shop to see that no inferior gold was used in making plate or jewellery. All that came up to the standard of purity was then stamped with a leopard's head, while the inferior metal was forfeited to the king Honesty would appear to have been at a discount in those days; for frequent reference is made to deceptions—such as that practised by the cutlers, "who covered tin with silver so subtilely and with such sleight that the same could not be discerned and severed from the tin, and by that means they sold the tin so covered for fine silver." The preamble of an Act passed in 1379 sets forth that the gold and silver worked by English goldsmiths was oftentimes "less fine than it ought to be." An Act of Henry IV., dated 1403, recites " that many fraudulent artificers do daily make locks, &c., of copper and atten, and the same do over gild and silver like to gold and silver, to the great deceit, loss, and hindrance of the common people, and the wasting of gold and silver." Persons continuing such practices were made liable to a heavy penalty. It appears, however, that ornaments for the church might be made of gilded or silvered copper, provided some part of the copper was left exposed, to show that the article was not solid. A number of Acts were subsequently passed to regulate the trade in England.

The workers in the precious metals in Scotland seem to have been afflicted with weaknesses similar to those which caused their English brethren to be the subjects of so much legislation. In 1457 a statute was enacted for " the reformation of gold and silver wrought by goldsmiths in Scotland; and, to eschew the deceiving done to the king's lieges, there shall be ordained in each burgh where goldsmiths work one understanding and cunning man of good conscience, who shall be deacon of the craft; and when work is brought to the goldsmith, and it be gold, he shall give it forth again in work no worse than twenty grains, and silver eleven grains fine, and he shall take his work to the deacon of the craft, that he may examine that it be fine as above written, and the said deacon shall set his mark and token thereto, together with the said goldsmith's; and when there is no goldsmith but one in the town, he shall show that work, tokened with his own mark, to the head officers of the town, who shall have a mark in like manner ordained therefor, and shall be set to the same work." It had evidently been found difficult to resist the temptation to deceive, for in 1555, "forasmuch as there was great fraud," it was enacted that no goldsmith should " make in work nor set forth either his own or other men's silver under the just fineness of elevenpenny fine, under the pain of death and confiscation of all their goods and movables; also, that no goldsmith set forth either his own, or other men's gold under the just fineness of twenty-two carats fine, under the pain aforesaid."

About the earliest incorporated trade in Edinburgh was that of the hammermen, under which term were included goldsmiths, blacksmiths, saddlers, cutlers, and armourers. Other branches were subsequently added, but in 1586 the goldsmiths were formed into a separate company. By the articles of the company apprentices were ordained to serve for a term of seven years, and masters were obliged to serve a regular apprenticeship and three years over and above, to make them more perfect in their trade. They were, moreover, bound to give to the deacon of the craft proof of their skill in working and knowledge of the fineness of metals, &c. Only those admitted to the company by the deacon and master were to work, melt, or break down, or sell any gold or silver work, under penalty of twenty pounds or imprisonment. In 1687 the company was incorporated by a charter granted by James VII., and obtained additional powers for regulating the trade. According to the terms of the charter, those powers were granted "because the art and science of goldsmiths, for the most part, is exercised in the city of Edinburgh, to which our subjects frequently resort, because it is the seat of our supreme Parliament, and of the other Supreme Courts, and there are few goldsmiths in other cities." In virtue of the powers conferred on it, the company, from the date of its formation, tested and stamped all the plate and jewellery made in Scotland. The first stamp used was a castle, consisting of three towers, the central one being higher than the others. In 1681 a letter representing the date was stamped on as well as the castle. The letter a indicates that the article bearing it was made in the year between 29th September 1681 and the same day in 1682—the other letters of the alphabet, omitting j and w, representing the succeeding twenty-three years. Each piece bore, in addition to the castle and date-letter, the assay-master's initials, and the maker's initials. Seven alphabets of a different type have been exhausted in recording the dates; and the letter of the eighth alphabet, for 1869, is an Egyptian capital M. In 1759 the standard mark of a thistle was substituted for the assay-master's initials, and is still continued. In 1784 a "duty-mark" was added, the form being the head of the sovereign.

Meet The Makers

The silver mace of the city of Edinburgh is dated 1617; the High Church plate, 1643; Newbattle Church plate, 1646. Other towns in Scotland. seem to have availed themselves of the early Acts of Parliament, and used their own "town marks." The plate of the parish church of St Andrews bears date 1671, and is marked with a St Andrew cross; and the plate of the West Church of Perth, dated 1771, bears, in addition to the Edinburgh marks, the town symbol of a spread eagle. Glasgow was not made an assay town until 1819. The marks used on the plate stamped at Glasgow are a lion rampant, the arms of the city, the maker's initials, the date letter, and the sovereign's head.

Few occupations afford such a wide field for the exercise of artistic taste as those of the goldsmith, silversmith, and jeweller. The variety of articles fashioned by them is very extensive, and practically there is no limit to the number of designs that may be employed. Sometimes the task of the goldsmith or silversmith is to produce an article of a purely ornamental character, but more commonly use and ornament are combined. With the jeweller ornament is the chief object, and he is, accordingly, less restricted in working out his designs. Only in a few cases is the vendor of plate and jewellery the actual maker, and this is one of the peculiarities of the trade. There are a number of "small masters" in each department, who occupy shops of their own, and work for the merchants by contract or otherwise, none of them being bound to work exclusively for one merchant.

In Edinburgh the workshops of the small masters are situated in out-of-the-way lanes in the New Town, and, like those in which baser metals are dealt with, are dingy, smoke-begrimed places. A brief description of the making of a teapot will suffice to convey an idea of the silversmith's occupation. There are two ways in which the work may be accomplished—an old and a new. Ac-cording to the old method, the bowl or body of the teapot is made of one piece of silver hammered up from the flat. The silver is first rolled out into a sheet about the thickness of a shilling A piece of the required size having been cut, it is hammered on a block of hardwood in the surface of which a smooth saucer-like hollow has been formed. In that way the metal is brought to the shape of a bowl. It is then taken to an anvil, and by skilful hammering the rim of the bowl is gradually contracted until the vessel is almost of a globular shape, with an opening three or four inches in diameter on what is to be its upper end. As the striking' tends to harden the silver, the vessel is annealed several times during the hammering process. This is done by bringing it to a red heat and allowing it to cool gradually. When the body of the teapot is brought to nearly the required shape by the first hammering, it is planished or made smooth by a slightly different process. Great care must be taken to hammer the vessel equally, else some parts might become thin or be broken through completely. The lid, spout, and handle are next made, and a hoop of metal is soldered on the lower part to form a base or foot. The spout is stamped out of a sheet of metal by means of dies, and is made in two halves which are soldered together. The handle is made in the same manner. An ornamental form is thus obtained without much labour. It depends on the design whether the spout and handle should be attached or not before the chasing is done on the body of the teapot. All the parts are put together for engraving, as the annealing in soldering destroys the bright cut of the engraving. To the first processes in the mode of making teapots that has just been described, there are various technical objections, the principal being that the blisters to which silver is liable become cracks under the hammer, and must be soldered, and that it is difficult to keep an equal thickness of metal all through the article. The improved way is to have the silver rolled thinner, so that on being annealed all the blisters show themselves. A sound piece being selected, a cylinder is formed, from which the body of the vessel is formed partly be expanding and partly by contracting. The expansion is done with a small bullet hammer on a sand-bag, and the contraction on variously formed beak-irons by hammers The improved mode of planishing is to have the hammer face padded with a kind of cloth, outside which is a piece of fine steel clock-spring. This finishes the surface with almost a burnished effect. Sugar basins are still made by the process first described.

The chasing of silver is a highly artistic occupation, and on the manner in which it is executed the beauty and value of an article chiefly depend. The chaser begins by drawing the design on the silver with a hard lead pencil. Where parts have to be brought out in high relief—such as figures, festoons of flowers, or bunches of fruit—the metal is struck out from the inside by means of a " snarling-iron." No attempt is made at this stage to produce anything approaching a likeness of the fruit or flowers, the object being merely to raise the metal over a space and to a height sufficient to admit of the forms being produced by manipulation from the outside. The vessel is then filled with pitch, a substance sufficiently consistent to preserve it from losing shape under the punches of the chaser, and yet not too hard to prevent the necessary indentations being made. A vessel chased in high relief looks to the uninitiated as if the work had been done by using dies or punches from the inside, whereas, except in such cases as have been mentioned, the chasing is done entirely from the outside. Having completed the operations described, the chaser rests the vessel on a circular cushion, and begins the punching. He first goes over the outline of a small patch of the design, and then fills in the details. His tools are small steel punches and a hammer; but such variety is there in the details of patterns, that not fewer than about three hundred punches are required to form a complete set. The groundwork of chasing is usually rough or "matted," and that part is done with punches having chequered faces in all degrees of fineness. The rapidity with which the most elaborate designs are worked out is surprising.

The occupation is light, but can be followed only by persons possessing artistic taste and skill. After the chasing is completed the parts are soldered together, and the article is then ready for "finishing" The process of finishing plate—a department of work by itself—is as follows :—After the article is finally annealed, and allowed to lie a certain time in "pickle" (water with a little sulphuric acid in it), the surface is scoured or rubbed with a lump of pumice stone and water. The vessel is then taken to the "mill" to be brushed with rottenstone and oil, after which it is either flat chased or engraved. Engraved work is finished by being hand polished with rouge. Chased work, both repousse and fiat-chased, is whitened by being smeared over with a mixture of borax and saltpetre, annealed, and laid in a bath of "pickle." The chased parts are brushed at a lathe with a circular brush made of very fine brass wire, charged with sour beer, the smooth parts being burnished or polished with the finger and rouge.

Silver engraving is a branch distinct from chasing. The engraver draws his designs on the silver, and cuts out the lines, thus removing a portion of the metal, whereas the chaser produces his effects without reducing the material. In some of the heavier kinds of plate—such as candelabra, centre-pieces, and tea-urns—the ornaments are formed by casting. Effigies of animals, detached shields, trunks of trees, &c., are formed in that way. The models are made in wax, and from these moulds are taken in sand, much in the same way as for castings in brass or iron; but the sand leaves a rough surface, and the chaser has to give the castings a finishing touch. Articles of electro-plate are usually made of German silver, and treated in the same way as silver through all the preliminary stages; but after the chasing has been done, the vessels are exposed to the action of a battery, and thus coated with pure silver. Sometimes articles made of silver and electro-plate are either wholly or partially plated with gold by the electro process; when partially plated they are said to be "parcel gilt."

The making of spoons and forks was at one time an extensive branch of the silversmith trade in Edinburgh, but now there are only two workshops in which these articles are produced. It appears that the profits on spoons and forks are small, and hence there is no inducement to enter into competition with the manufacturers in London, who have extensive establishments in which machinery is applied to most parts of the work. As made in the old fashioned but thoroughly substantial way, spoons are first forged, then stamped by means of dies, and afterwards filed and polished by hand.

The assay office of the Goldsmiths' Hall, on the South Bridge, Edinburgh; is open on alternate days, when articles of gold or silver that require to be guaranteed by the stamp of genuineness are sent in and assayed. The assay-master scrapes a small quantity of metal off each article, and submits it to a test, in order to ascertain the quality. The duty charged on each ounce of gold-plate is 17s. .6d., and on silver-plate 1s. 6d.

Messrs Mackay, Cunningham, & Co., Her Majesty's goldsmiths for Scotland, have done much to improve and extend the art of working in gold and silver in Scotland. Liberal encouragement has been given to native talent, and the result has gone to prove that the highest class of plate and jewellery can be produced in Edinburgh as readily as in London or elsewhere, and that, if there be any difference in excellence of workmanship, it is in favour of Edinburgh. Designers and modellers of great ability are now regularly employed in the trade; and at least one hand, whose fame in another department of art will live through many generations, has lent assistance to establish a genuine reputation for the productions of the Scottish goldsmiths. One or two of the more important works recently executed by Messrs Mackay, Cunningham, & Co. are worthy of mention. Remarkable for its size and novelty of style is a trophy for the officers' mess of the 92d Regiment. It is in the form of a triangular obelisk of granite, rising from a silver pedestal, which rests upon a broad base of granite, the total height being about three feet. Standing on the angles of the base are three figures, representing an officer, a sergeant, and a piper, all in the full uniform of the regiment. The figures, which are eight inches high, are in frosted silver, and have been beautifully modelled. They were the last work executed by the late Mr William Beattie, whose skill as a modeller is well known in artistic circles. The sides of the pedestal bear in high relief the crest and badge of the regiment —a stag's head and a wreath of ivy. On each of the angles of the pedestal is a sphinx in frosted silver, and the shaft of the obelisk is girt at intervals by bands of silver, on which are emblazoned the names of the more important actions in which the regiment has participated. Both in conception and execution the trophy is a noble piece of plate, and will no doubt be cherished as such by the owners. A beautiful epergne or centre ornament of silver next claims attention. It has been made for a famous breeder of Leicester sheep, and consists of an oak tree denuded of its upper part, but retaining a few of its branches, which support a crystal fruit-dish On a grass plot surrounding the trunk of the oak are a group of Leicester sheep, which have been finely modelled by Mr Gourlay Steell, R.S.A. The base is about three inches in depth, and is surrounded by a series of circular panels or recesses in which are disposed the medals, about twenty in number, won by the owner at various agricultural shows. A communion service for the congregation of the Rev. Dr Candlish shows a great advance on the common style of Presbyterian church plate.

Equally worthy of mention are the efforts made to improve the trade by Messrs William Marshall & Co. of Edinburgh, who have devoted much attention to the production of plate and jewellery of a highly artistic kind. Mr J. D. Marshall has laboured most assiduously for twenty years past in working out designs, which, while peculiarly suitable for production in the precious metals, have had the effect of creating a distinct character and celebrity for Scotch jewellery. He has studied the national antiquities to good purpose, and has borrowed hints from the most unlikely quarters. The enamelled and engraved jewellery of a runic type received its first development from Mr Marshall, and his designs in that class number many hundreds. He has also applied himself most successfully to designs for plate. The saloon of the firm contains a collection of native workmanship which would do credit to any country; and that its merit is recognised beyond the borders, is attested by the honours they have won at the London, Paris, and other Exhibitions. Messrs Marshall & Co. are the most extensive makers of plate and jewellery in Scotland.

No ornamental art enjoys a wider patronage than that of the jeweller. His productions grace the brow of royalty, and form an object of pride with the poorest domestic, he is intrusted with the "setting" of gems worth a hundred fortunes, and has to exercise his ingenuity to produce trinkets for the million. In jewellery "a thing of beauty" is not "a joy for ever," nor would the jeweller wish it were so. With changes of fashion in dress come changes of fashion in jewels, and there is thus a constant demand for new designs. To meet that demand, gold, silver, and gems are combined in ever-varying styles. The manufacture of jewellery, as already stated, was early practised in Scotland, and for many years past the "pebble jewellery" made in this country has been much in demand at home and abroad. The style has been copied by the English manufacturers, who, by using an inferior quality of materials, have prevented the Scotch makers from reaping the full benefit of this branch of their trade, for the exercise of which the abundant supply of fine pebbles to be obtained in Scotland gives them peculiar facilities. In Edinburgh great attention has been paid to the manufacture of pebble jewellery, and a degree of excellence has been attained which it would be almost impossible to surpass. Some of the early 'work in pebbles was very coarse and inartistic; the stones were roughly cut, and arranged without regard to shades of colour; but now the utmost care is taken in the cutting and arranging of the pebbles, and beautiful effects are thereby produced.

The gold used by jewellers is always alloyed with certain proportions of pure silver and the finest copper, according to the quality desired. The legal standard of silver is 11 oz. 2 dwt. of fine silver in the pound troy, the balance being copper. The jeweller melts his metals in a crucible, and casts them into ingots about two inches broad, three inches long, and one-eighth of an inch thick. The ingots are reduced to any degree of thinness by being passed between steel rollers. The sheets or plates of metal thus produced are intrusted to a workman, who, guided by drawings or models, clips out the pieces required for the various articles to be made. The pieces are given, along with the designs, to other workmen, who put them together. These men are seated at large tables, round the sides of which are a series of semicircular recesses, each recess being occupied by a workman. After the pieces are brought to the exact size required, they are soldered together by means of a blow-pipe. Articles of an ornate character—such as brooches and bracelets—covered with designs in filigree work, or inlaid with pebbles, require great nicety of manipulation, and the number of parts which go to compose some of them is immense. Pebble bracelets of a finely worked geometrical pattern are made in which there are no fewer than 160 pieces of stone. In making an article which is to be inlaid with pebbles, such as a brooch, the jeweller forms a back or foundation, to which a plate, pierced with apertures for the pebbles, is fixed, a convenient space being left between the two plates. At this stage the work is passed to the lapidary, who cuts and fixes the pebbles. The stones are first cut with a revolving disc of iron, charged with diamond dust and oil, and roughly shaped with a pair of pincers. Each piece is then taken in succession, and attached to a "cement-stick"—a small piece of wood with a quantity of strong cement on one end. Held in that way, the stone is ground to the required shape on a revolving disc of lead, charged with emery and water. When all the pieces are brought to the shape of the apertures designed for them, they are set in with shellac. The outer surface has up till this time been left rough; but, after the cement has hardened, the lapidary takes the brooch in his hand, and manipulates it on the grinding disc until the stone is reduced to the level of the metal which surrounds it. The surface is next polished on a disc of tin, charged with rotten-stone and water, and the brooch is returned to the jeweller. Usually pebble brooches have in the centre a "cairngorm," or what is commonly supposed to be one. The cairngorms are not "set" until the work on the other parts of the brooch is all but completed. The exposed surface of the metal on the face of the brooch is usually relieved by engraved scroll-work. Enamelled jewellery has recently come into fashion to some extent, and fine specimens have been produced, the runic patterns especially being very pretty.

The lapidaries obtain their pebbles from various quarters of the country. Aberdeenshire furnishes agates, beryls, and the famous Cairngorm crystal; and in the parish of Leslie, in the same county, is found a beautiful amianthus, which is fashioned into snuff-boxes, &c. Ayrshire furnishes agates and jaspers; Perthshire, bloodstone and a variety of others; Forfarshire, jaspers; and Mid-Lothian, the Pentland pebble and the Arthur Seat jasper. Amethysts were once abundant in Scotland, but they have now become scarce. At Elie, in Fife-shire, garnets are found. Then there are the Scotch pearls, so much valued for their size and beauty, though inferior in some respects to the Oriental kind, being more opaque. With such a variety of material, the Scotch jewellers have great facilities for producing multitudinous designs, and they seem to be improving their opportunity.

As might be expected, the silversmiths and jewellers are an. intelligent class of workmen, and nearly all of them are or have been students in the School of Design. Their occupation being, however, to a great extent simply mechanical, their wages are not higher than those of skilled workmen in other trades which fall under that designation. Lapidaries serve an apprenticeship of six years, and jewellers, silversmiths, and silverchasers of seven years. Silversmiths and jewellers generally receive from 18s. to 32s. a-week, and lapidaries, 24s.; but in exceptional cases higher rates are earned. About two years ago the men made a successful movement for the reduction of their hours of labour to fifty-seven a-week; but, without any pressure on their part, a considerable advance has been made on the rate of wages within the last few years.

Besides being used in the manufacture of plate and jewellery, gold and silver are extensively employed in decorating various articles, such as picture-frames and other articles of furniture, books, carved work, &c. For such purposes the metals are hammered out into exceedingly thin plates or leaves. Gold-beating, as the process of making those leaves is called, is an art of great antiquity; and it would seem that gilded articles were so fashion-able at one time in this country, that it became necessary for the State to interfere to prevent the precious metal from being wasted in such a way. About the year 1619, a statute of James I. enacted that, " the better to prevent the unnecessary and excessive vent of gold and silver foliate (i.e., leaf) within this realm, none such shall from henceforth be wrought or used in any building, ceiling, wainscot, bedstead, chairs, stools, clothes, or any other ornament whatsoever, except it be armour or weapons, or in arms or ensigns of honour at funerals or monuments of the dead." Gold- beating was introduced into Scotland in the year 1805 by the late Mr Wright, of the firm of Ross & Wright, Calton Street, Edinburgh. Mr Wright was presented with a complete set of working apparatus by the Highland Society for having introduced the art, and he was appointed gold-beater to his Majesty King George IV. The trade has not thriven in Scotland however, there being but two or three gold-beaters' shops north of the Tweed, and in these only a few men are employed. Gold or silver leaf is made by first rolling out the metal into thin plates, and then hammering them between layers of prepared ox-gut, called "goldbeaters' skin." The gold leaves are made so thin that it would require 300,000 of them laid one on the top of the other to make the thickness an inch. The leaves measure 3.3 inches square, and 2000 of them are produced from a piece of gold weighing four pennyweights less than an ounce. Machinery has recently been applied to supersede the arduous manual labour of gold-beating.

Seal-engraving is an art akin to jewel-making, and merits a passing notice. The practice of using gummed envelopes has, by superseding wax, gone far to extinguish the occupation of the seal-engraver. Not many years ago a massive seal, bearing the crest of the wearer —if he were fortunate enough to have one, or his initials if he could not claim heraldic privileges—was invariably suspended on the watch-guards of gentlemen; and ladies carried daintily got-up seals, with which they impressed emblems of love on the gaudily coloured and perfumed wax which preserved the contents of their billets-doux from the glance of profane eyes. Wax and seals have had their day; but signet-rings are still in fashion, and keep the lathes of the engravers from coming to a dead stand. Engraving on gems is one of the nicest artistic occupations. It is easy for workers in metals to repair flaws or imperfections, but the seal-engraver has no facilities for doing so. If he makes a blunder the gem is ruined, and his labour is lost. He begins operations by fixing the gem on a convenient handle, and then draws the design upon it with a brass needle. The engraving is done by means of fine tools resembling drills, to which a rapid revolving motion is given in a small lathe. The tools are dipped from time to time into a composition of diamond dust and olive oil, and the operator holds the gem in his hand and applies it to the tools. So fine is the work generally that a powerful eyeglass has to be used, and so slow is the process of cutting, that a whole day is required for the engraving of a ribbon and motto.

The number of persons working in gold, silver, and precious stones in Scotland is little short of two thousand, and a large pro-portion of these are employed in Edinburgh. Plate and jewellery being articles of luxury, the demand for them fluctuates according to the prosperity of the country—a fact clearly brought out by the returns of the quantities of gold and silver used in each year. The high price of gold-plate puts it beyond the attainment of all save a select few in the highest ranks of society; but for those who have the desire, without the means, to possess real articles, electro-plate forms a passable substitute—though half the charm of the possession is lost in the knowledge that the beauty of the articles is only skin deep, and that the skin is a very thin one. Silver-plate has become common among the middle-class of the population, and articles in electro-plate are in great demand. Some of the latter are beautifully got up, but the ornamentation generally is not so finely executed as in the case of solid silver work. Only a small quantity of plated goods is made in Scotland, and a considerable portion of the other work is done to order.

For a number of years past the silversmith and jeweller trades have been extending in Edinburgh, and there are indications that they will increase still further. There are upwards of thirty master jewellers in the city, who employ from half a dozen to thirty men each. All the work done is of a superior kind, no attempt being made to vie with Birmingham in the production of cheap and showy articles, the beauty of which is as transient as that of a flower. The city is not likely to become a manufacturing centre in the common meaning of the term, nor in some respects would that be desirable. It is, however, well adapted to become a seat of light, artistic occupations, and many such are carried on in it. No city in Britain possesses a better School of Design, and it is gratifying to know that it is largely taken advantage of. Workmen trained in Edinburgh are highly valued by the London manufacturers of plate and jewellery, and some of the best work done in the metropolis is by their hands.


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