Historical jewelry making

I have found myself in a real problem area, I have been asked and
would like to do a Presentation of jewelry making and stone cutting
from the 1500’s to 1600’s. but I have been unable to find any
about the equipment used in this time period any assist
would be great appreciated

Rodney Abel

Hi Rodney,

Try the Society for Creative Anachronism (sca.org) They have lots of
info on EVERYTHING from the middle ages!


1500's to 1600's. but I have been unable to find any information
about the equipment used 

All I know personally would be called “Lore” - what people have
passed on to me - bow drills, blowpipes, bellows torches, sandcasting
or poured investment casting, wood furnaces. The point being, as I’m
sure you are aware, that the Gutenberg Bible was published in 1455.
Printing didn’t really get up to speed until well into the 1500’s.
Meaning there’s not much published - the usual suspects - Cellini to
begin with. Good luck, though. I’d try the major libraries - London,
Paris, Rome, all of which have some online presence. I went into this
a bit and didn’t find anything, but it’s the Librarian and
Information Technology Association - links to much deeper things on
the web than Google (AND google):


Also http://www.biblio.com/ THE source for rare books (for sale,
that is)



Theophilus On Divers Arts is good, it has a couple of nice
engravings of a workshop with all the tools dated 1576 Plates 4&5.
Chapter 48 on Spanish Gold is very useful if gold gets in short
supply. First catch your Basilisk…

regards Tim.

For lapidary, the is kinda thin. You can research
on Idar Oberstein. They’ve been cutting stones there
since the 14th century. For historical documents, there’s The
Treatises of Benvenuto Cellini on Goldsmithing and Sculpture
0-486-21568), written in the mid 1500’s, The Pirotechnia (ISBN
0-486-26134), On Divers Arts (ISBN 0-486-23784) (which at the 11th
century predates the era you are looking at by a lot, but has a very
good description of the setup of a medieval workshop).

If you can find it, Medieval Craftsmen: Goldsmiths by John Cherry
(ISBN 0-8020-7711-0) has a lot of illustrations of jewelers shops
from the 1500s and 1600s.

There are a few more, but some of them are esoteric and kinda hard
to find. The stuff I listed above, and the bibliographies they
contain should get you further along than you are.

Ron Charlotte – Gainesville, FL

try “on divers arts”…dover publication…


You might be interested in Glenn Klein’s book: “Faceting History:
Cutting Diamonds & Colored Stones.” I’m sure that Glenn would be
willing to have a dialog with you, as well. His website is

Al Balmer
Sun City, AZ