Gold! Gold! Gold!
Bright and yellow,
Hard and cold!
     Thomas Hood, English poet, 1840

In ancient times, it is said that gleaming nuggets were easy to find and collect from stream banks. Gold’s availability and gold’s properties combined to make it both desired and useful. Gold was often reserved for the use and adornment of the ruling class. When thinking of a crown, a statue, or a bracelet, gold could well be the material that we imagine. The oldest worked-gold objects, produced as early as 4700 BCE by the ancient Thracian civilization were found at a burial site in Varna, Bulgaria.

Gold is the only metal that is yellow in its pure form. It has a natural luster that gleams because of the way it reflects light. It is easily shaped because of its softness, so can be manipulated with simple tools and without heating. It is malleable; it can be hammered into thin sheets. It is also ductile; it can be stretched into wire. Gold can be combined with other metals to increase its strength—alloyed. Gold doesn’t tarnish or rust and that imperishable shine has capture Read More
Gold! Gold! Gold!
Bright and yellow,
Hard and cold!

     Thomas Hood, English poet, 1840

In ancient times, it is said that gleaming nuggets were easy to find and collect from stream banks. Gold’s availability and gold’s properties combined to make it both desired and useful. Gold was often reserved for the use and adornment of the ruling class. When thinking of a crown, a statue, or a bracelet, gold could well be the material that we imagine. The oldest worked-gold objects, produced as early as 4700 BCE by the ancient Thracian civilization were found at a burial site in Varna, Bulgaria.

Gold is the only metal that is yellow in its pure form. It has a natural luster that gleams because of the way it reflects light. It is easily shaped because of its softness, so can be manipulated with simple tools and without heating. It is malleable; it can be hammered into thin sheets. It is also ductile; it can be stretched into wire. Gold can be combined with other metals to increase its strength—alloyed. Gold doesn’t tarnish or rust and that imperishable shine has captured people’s imaginations forever.

Gold hasn’t lost any of its fascination in our present day society. Today, 78% of all gold is used in jewellery. During the gold rushes in Nova Scotia starting in the 1860’s, local gold was crafted by skilled goldsmiths and displayed in shop windows on the streets of Halifax. That tradition continues to this day in Halifax, where students study jewellery making at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and jewellery stores dot the streets. This is true as well in towns and cities around the world.
  

© 2013, Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. All Rights Reserved.

Eneolithic Necropolis - Varna
The oldest gold treasure in the world was discovered quite by chance by an excavator operator in 1972 in Varna, Bulgaria. It was a sensational discovery, uncovering what is now known as Eneolithic (between Neolithic and Bronze ages) Necropolis--Varna. Two hundred and ninety-four tombs have been uncovered so far, containing three thousand gold artifacts weighing over six kilograms. The gold objects are stunning in their variety, with over 38 different types. Radiocarbon dating has placed the graves between 4700-4200 BCE.

Three of the tombs contained the largest portions of gold and the most significant artifacts. Three-dimensional human faces were made from clay, with gold objects placed on them in specific places—such as eyes, mouth, and ears. The scepters symbolize high rank or spiritual power.
  
Eneolithic Necropolis - Varna
The oldest gold treasure in the world was discovered quite by chance by an excavator operator in 1972 in Varna, Bulgaria. It was a sensational discovery, uncovering what is now known as Eneolithic (between Neolithic and Bronze ages) Necropolis--Varna. Two hundred and ninety-four tombs have been uncovered so far, containing three thousand gold artifacts weighing over six kilograms. The gold objects are stunning in their variety, with over 38 different types. Radiocarbon dating has placed the graves between 4700-4200 BCE.

Three of the tombs contained the largest portions of gold and the most significant artifacts. Three-dimensional human faces were made from clay, with gold objects placed on them in specific places—such as eyes, mouth, and ears. The scepters symbolize high rank or spiritual power.
  

© 2013, Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. All Rights Reserved.

Queen Zer’s Bracelets and Tutankhaman’s Treasures
The oldest pieces of Egyptian gold jewellery, four bracelets, were found in the tomb of King Zer at Abydos. They date back to 3200 BCE, during the first Egyptian dynasty. When discovered in 1900, these bracelets were still in place on Queen Zer’s linen-wrapped arm; her arm was all that remained of her body. The bracelets were made of gold, lapis lazuli, and turquoise.

Gold was a sacred metal in ancient Egyptian culture. Its yellow colour stood for the eternal and indestructible, qualities also ascribed to the sun. Egyptians believed that the gods’ skin and bones were made of gold. Their ruler, the Pharaoh, was called The Golden. It was believed that Pharaohs became gods when they died, making it essential that they be buried with gold. Tutankhamun, a relatively unimportant ruler, reigned from the age of ten to his death at nineteen. His tomb gives us an insight into the riches buried with Pharaohs. The death mask was intended to give a face to a dead spirit as it traveled to its new destination in the afterlife. Read More
Queen Zer’s Bracelets and Tutankhaman’s Treasures
The oldest pieces of Egyptian gold jewellery, four bracelets, were found in the tomb of King Zer at Abydos. They date back to 3200 BCE, during the first Egyptian dynasty. When discovered in 1900, these bracelets were still in place on Queen Zer’s linen-wrapped arm; her arm was all that remained of her body. The bracelets were made of gold, lapis lazuli, and turquoise.

Gold was a sacred metal in ancient Egyptian culture. Its yellow colour stood for the eternal and indestructible, qualities also ascribed to the sun. Egyptians believed that the gods’ skin and bones were made of gold. Their ruler, the Pharaoh, was called The Golden. It was believed that Pharaohs became gods when they died, making it essential that they be buried with gold. Tutankhamun, a relatively unimportant ruler, reigned from the age of ten to his death at nineteen. His tomb gives us an insight into the riches buried with Pharaohs. The death mask was intended to give a face to a dead spirit as it traveled to its new destination in the afterlife. The coffin portrayed is the innermost of three inlaid coffins, one inside the other, each shaped in the figure of the King. It was made of solid hammered gold and weighed 242 pounds. Pharaohs were worth far more than their weight in gold!
  

© 2013, Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. All Rights Reserved.

Goldsmithing in Nova Scotia during the latter part of the 1800s focused mainly on small pieces—brooches, lockets, bracelets, studs, pins, rings—with some trophies and awards made as well. Before the gold rushes, many things had been imported from England, but after the first rush started, jewellers began to use the newly discovered local gold to create local jewellery.

Julius Cornelius, whose handsome stone shop was located at 95 Granville Street in Halifax, was described by archivist Harry Piers as “without a doubt, the most artistic and skillful designer and maker of gold jewellery, that we have ever had in Nova Scotia.”

Born in Germany in 1825, Cornelius trained at the Berlin Art School; much of that training was in careful modeling in wax. He came to Halifax in 1855 at the age of thirty and in 1871 moved to his store on Granville Street. His shop window showcased paintings by Forshaw Day and other local artists.
  
Goldsmithing in Nova Scotia during the latter part of the 1800s focused mainly on small pieces—brooches, lockets, bracelets, studs, pins, rings—with some trophies and awards made as well. Before the gold rushes, many things had been imported from England, but after the first rush started, jewellers began to use the newly discovered local gold to create local jewellery.

Julius Cornelius, whose handsome stone shop was located at 95 Granville Street in Halifax, was described by archivist Harry Piers as “without a doubt, the most artistic and skillful designer and maker of gold jewellery, that we have ever had in Nova Scotia.”

Born in Germany in 1825, Cornelius trained at the Berlin Art School; much of that training was in careful modeling in wax. He came to Halifax in 1855 at the age of thirty and in 1871 moved to his store on Granville Street. His shop window showcased paintings by Forshaw Day and other local artists.
  

© 2013, Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. All Rights Reserved.

Photograph of a gold cross-shaped pendant with mayflowers twining around it.

Cross pendant made by Julius Cornelius. Gold mayflower motif, with pearls from Oyster Pond, NS. It’s said that Cornelius was particularly fond of mayflowers, Nova Scotia’s provincial flower.

Julius Cornelius
Photography by Roger Lloyd.
19th Century
Halifax, Nova Scotia, CANADA
NSM History Collection: 60.20.4c
© 2013, Nova Scotia Museum. All Rights Reserved.


Julius Cornelius specialized in designing and manufacturing gold jewellery, using almost entirely local gold, as well as other Nova Scotian materials like quartz and amethyst. His jewellery displayed many Nova Scotian themes. It’s said that he was particularly fond of mayflowers, Nova Scotia’s provincial flower.

The mayflower took on special significance in Nova Scotia in the 1800s. It is a flower that blooms in early spring, often through snow on the forest floor, and was thought to stand for high achievement in adversity. The mayflower was celebrated in songs, poetry, and speeches, appeared on stamps and coins, had newspapers named after it—even the Lieutenant Governor’s chain of state bore its flower. It makes Cornelius’ frequent choice of the mayflower in his jewellery understandable.
   
Julius Cornelius specialized in designing and manufacturing gold jewellery, using almost entirely local gold, as well as other Nova Scotian materials like quartz and amethyst. His jewellery displayed many Nova Scotian themes. It’s said that he was particularly fond of mayflowers, Nova Scotia’s provincial flower.

The mayflower took on special significance in Nova Scotia in the 1800s. It is a flower that blooms in early spring, often through snow on the forest floor, and was thought to stand for high achievement in adversity. The mayflower was celebrated in songs, poetry, and speeches, appeared on stamps and coins, had newspapers named after it—even the Lieutenant Governor’s chain of state bore its flower. It makes Cornelius’ frequent choice of the mayflower in his jewellery understandable.
   

© 2013, Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. All Rights Reserved.

Gold brooch embedded with garnets made by Julius Cornelius.

Cornelius was renowned for the many beautiful brooches he created. On a trip to Europe, Cornelius saw the original brooch—a gift from Prince Albert to Queen Victoria for their wedding. When he returned to Nova Scotia, Cornelius made an exact copy. This brooch has a similar construction: two pieces, one large, one small, with an oval-shaped upper piece.

Julius Cornelius
Photography by Roger Lloyd.
19th Century
Halifax, Nova Scotia, CANADA
Nova Scotian gold, foreign garnets and pearls, possibly Nova Scotia amethysts
NSM History Collection: 72.43.1
© 2013, Nova Scotia Museum. All Rights Reserved.


14K gold flower earring with garnet centre, made by Julius Cornelius.

Julius Cornelius modeled oak leaves, acorns, and thistles. He portrayed horses—even a miner with a pick lifted over his shoulder. He made rings, watch-chains, brooches, lockets, bracelets, sugar tongs, and tableware. Cornelius also created the hair work jewellery that was popular at the time—a lock of hair in a brooch, visible through glass.

Julius Cornelius
Photography by Roger Lloyd.
19th Century
Halifax, Nova Scotia, CANADA
14K gold, garnet flower, gold bud
NSM History Collection: 72.43.2a,b
© 2013, Nova Scotia Museum. All Rights Reserved.


Hallmarks
Hallmarks, which originated in England, identified the maker of an object through a specific, formalized code. The succession was:

Maker’s Mark: Usually his registered initials
Place Mark: A Leopard’s Head for London, each place had its own image
Sterling Mark: A Lion Passant (an image of a lion walking with its further forepaw raised) which served to guarantee the mineral content
Date Mark: A letter with a different style for each year
Duty Mark: The head of the reigning king or queen

Nova Scotia’s Pseudo Hallmarks
Nova Scotia never had an official, legal system of Hallmarks as in England, but jewellers created their own system of marks to identify their work. Often the dies they used to make these marks were imprecisely cut, making an impression that wasn’t completely clear. Typically, they used:

Read More
Hallmarks
Hallmarks, which originated in England, identified the maker of an object through a specific, formalized code. The succession was:

Maker’s Mark: Usually his registered initials
Place Mark: A Leopard’s Head for London, each place had its own image
Sterling Mark: A Lion Passant (an image of a lion walking with its further forepaw raised) which served to guarantee the mineral content
Date Mark: A letter with a different style for each year
Duty Mark: The head of the reigning king or queen

Nova Scotia’s Pseudo Hallmarks
Nova Scotia never had an official, legal system of Hallmarks as in England, but jewellers created their own system of marks to identify their work. Often the dies they used to make these marks were imprecisely cut, making an impression that wasn’t completely clear. Typically, they used:

Maker’s Mark: Usually the goldsmith’s initials. This was important because it meant they assumed full responsibility for their goods.
Place Mark: Often H for Halifax, NS for Nova Scotia
Sterling Mark: A Lion Passant, as in England, but often the lion faced in the wrong direction (right instead of left)

Julius Cornelius had some variety in his marks, using:

Maker’s Mark: “J.C.”, occasionally J. CORNELIUS
Place Mark: H for Halifax, NS for Nova Scotia
Sterling Mark: Lion Passant facing left
  

© 2013, Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. All Rights Reserved.

Emily Seaboyer
This video is an example of a modern-day goldsmith. Although today most jewellery is mass-produced in countries around the world, there is still a market for handcrafted gold jewellery.

Present-day goldsmith Emily Seaboyer is a jewellery maker who graduated from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in 2005. She discovered metal there, finding in it a compelling medium that allows her to create unique textures inspired by the organic. She works with a variety of materials and methods, at times casting gold and silver using rubber and wax molds. Emily notes that gold jewellery has a perceived value that is greater than its actual monetary value, a reflection of the continuing reverence for gold in our culture.

In this video, Emily Seaboyer starts with ring stock and goes through the steps to create a ring. In the process, she uses a variety of tools, from calipers to files, from dremmel tool to pickle pot, all specific to jewellery making. Her saw blade is made of brass; her solder pick is titanium; her hammer is a rawhide mallet to protect the metal. The Read More
Emily Seaboyer
This video is an example of a modern-day goldsmith. Although today most jewellery is mass-produced in countries around the world, there is still a market for handcrafted gold jewellery.

Present-day goldsmith Emily Seaboyer is a jewellery maker who graduated from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in 2005. She discovered metal there, finding in it a compelling medium that allows her to create unique textures inspired by the organic. She works with a variety of materials and methods, at times casting gold and silver using rubber and wax molds. Emily notes that gold jewellery has a perceived value that is greater than its actual monetary value, a reflection of the continuing reverence for gold in our culture.

In this video, Emily Seaboyer starts with ring stock and goes through the steps to create a ring. In the process, she uses a variety of tools, from calipers to files, from dremmel tool to pickle pot, all specific to jewellery making. Her saw blade is made of brass; her solder pick is titanium; her hammer is a rawhide mallet to protect the metal. The ring is roughed out, tempered, annealed, soldered, bent. Gold flux first bubbles, then becomes clear. The ring heats up as it is polished. The difference between before—unpolished—and after—polished—is dramatic.
  

© 2013, Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. All Rights Reserved.

Your job is to choose information for future generations that describes your world and what is most valuable in it. The tombs of pharaohs served this purpose in ancient Egypt; time capsules are often used in the modern world. A space age example of this kind of information selection was demonstrated by the Voyager I space probe. It carried a golden record of Earth sounds, as well as other information—you can read about it at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voyager_Golden_Record

1. What would you bury in a tomb that would most effectively give them a picture of your world?
    a. Decide what aspects are most important to convey: music, literature, sports, technology, industry, architecture, entertainment, fashion . . .
    b. Choose the means that you will use to store these choices: photographic images, writing, memory stick, CD . . .
    c. Explain your reasoning in choosing the Read More
Your job is to choose information for future generations that describes your world and what is most valuable in it. The tombs of pharaohs served this purpose in ancient Egypt; time capsules are often used in the modern world. A space age example of this kind of information selection was demonstrated by the Voyager I space probe. It carried a golden record of Earth sounds, as well as other information—you can read about it at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voyager_Golden_Record

1. What would you bury in a tomb that would most effectively give them a picture of your world?
    a. Decide what aspects are most important to convey: music, literature, sports, technology, industry, architecture, entertainment, fashion . . .
    b. Choose the means that you will use to store these choices: photographic images, writing, memory stick, CD . . .
    c. Explain your reasoning in choosing these items.

2. You are a jewellery maker and want to identify your work. Create your own hallmarks, identifying yourself, your location, etc. referring to the hallmark information in this category. Make a die that allows you to print your hallmarks, using the material of your choice, e.g. Styrofoam, wood, foam.

3. Think about the area that you live in. What are the images that would most represent your area in a piece of jewellery? Think of possibilities in the natural world, industrial world, or specific to the culture of your community.
    a. Choose five images that you could incorporate into pieces of
jewellery. Draw or photograph these images.
    b. Design one piece of jewellery, incorporating as many of these images as you wish.

4. Research a jeweller in your area. Choose a method (research paper, video, graphic book, etc.) to demonstrate:
    a. their training
    b. the materials they use/why they choose them
    c. the processes they use
    d. the themes or images specific to their jewellery
  

© 2013, Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. All Rights Reserved.

Learning Objectives

1. Create and/or present collaboratively and independently expressive products in the arts for a range of audiences and purposes.
     (Visual Arts, Grades 7-12)

2. Examine the relationships among arts, societies, and environments.
     (Visual Arts, Grades 7-12)

3. Communicate information and ideas effectively and clearly, responding personally and critically.
    (English Language Arts, Grades 7-12)

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