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Proper tattoo for a goldsmith

to all - i am wondering what symbols done as a tattoo people think
could be apprpriate to identify a person as a goldsmith. as a
metalsmith and jewelry maker since 1981 what icons could i choose
that if another jeweler or goldsmith saw the mark they would know i
am a fellow goldsmith. tattoo’s are quite popular, i have resisted
being tattoo’d because my personal reasons are the meaning behind
the tattoo. i think a tattoo has significant meaning for the person
wearing it. personally i think a tattoo is used in cultures as has
specific meaning for that culture. for example it could be related
to that individuals status in a particular social culture for example
a tattoo can be the marking to signify a rite of passage. so as a
goldsmith what would be the proper markings ? ive thought that
perhaps a design that incorporated AU or 585 or 95/5 pt please tell
me your thoughts on the matter -

best regards goo

Dear goo,

How about a chasing hammer? No one else uses those as much as we do,
do they? And they are so pretty. Maybe with some other tools, like a
well-proportioned pliers, and the Au. I would look at family crests,
some of which show tools, and Masonic crests.

M’lou Brubaker
Minnesota, USA’louBrubaker

Goo- My husband Tim Green,, has been tattoing for
as long as he’s been a goldsmith. He apprenticed under Don Nolan of
Acme Tattoo. Within the ink on his full body suit, is the konji
"Hori" which stands for tattooist, jeweler, engraver, or woodcarver.

Best wishes

Hi Goo

An Orchid of course

Robin Key

Chasing hammer. Its got a shape unique to our trade.

Maybe an alchemical symbol for gold? Here’s a chart with several,
from various time periods:

An image of the patron saint of goldsmithing perhaps?

We discussed it here last year, I think it was. It was a crossword
puzzle clue.


Don’t know about “proper”, since most goldsmiths I know would prefer
to announce their profession to the world by wearing actual jewelry,
not tatoos. Those who I know who get tatoos seem to be drawn to
other aspects of their lives, and other symbologies to assign to the
tatoos. But it’s certainly body decoration, as is jewelry, and like
jewelry itself, it’s best chosen for it’s personal meanings and
personal aesthetics. I’d suggest you already know the symbols you
find meaningfull. Don’t ask us, as all you’ll get is what’s
meaningful to us.

With that said, many of us are already self tatooed after fashion,
what with the little scars and dots on our fingers from gravers, cup
burs and drills run into fingertips, or maybe just the semi-permanent
layer of polishing compounds on the fingers…

For actual tatoos, I can’t think of any especially universal symbols
that another jeweler would automatically see and know you make
jewelry. it’s not like there’s some universal secret handshake in
this business… I’d guess symbols for gold or silver could have many
other meanings. Maybe you’re into alchemy or something. Or a banker.
or who knows. If it were me, I’d think about either an image of
classic and favorite tools (how about a chasing hammer crossed with
a sawframe, with a surrounding frame in the shape of a diamonds side
view. Or an image consisting of several nice colored gems in a
cluster. Or perhaps simply a tatoo of a fabulous or favorite piece of
jewelery. You can’t own the hope diamond yourself (other than the
tiny bit you own as an american citizen), but you could tatoo that
neckace around your neck if you like. I know a girl with a nice ring
tatooed on her finger. She also has the real ring, which fits right
over the tatoo if she likes. And I can think of any number of
amazingly beautiful ancient jewels that would make impressive images
too. The possibilities are endless.

But like I said, I’d suggest that you do your own choosing. It’s your
body, it should be your idea for a tatoo, something with significant
personal meaning to you, not just something that just sort of sounds
good from an orchid posting because you can’t think of anything on
your own. Seems to me that would be a waste of money and pain and


Hi Goo;

You’ll get a lot of answers on this, but I’d be careful if I were
you. There are lots of goldsmiths out there, but not as many that
know much about the trade, if you know what I mean. How about a
symbol that’s likely to represent our trade for a long time to come,
like, say, a crossed jeweler’s saw and chasing hammer? I thought
about this a while, and I think those tools will be easily
recognizable and will continue to be in use when you’re looking at
goldsmiths a quarter of your age :wink:

Of course, by that time, most jewelry will be made without a human
hand ever touching it until the customer takes it out of the little
box beside their home terminal, where it was transported to from the
site on Mars where it was manufactured by nano-technology.

David L. Huffman

one might consider using the alchemical symbol for gold somewhere in
the tattoo. Just a thought

Aloha! Gustavo,

Now, what kind of question is that you have a creative heart? How
about a Golden hammer with a Lei on the handle?

Hula Girl! Nancy


How about the old arts and crafts arm and hammer with a “hand
wrought” in A&C fonts? I couldnt find an example, but I do remember
seeing one in Christie Romero’s “Warman’s Jewelry” book:

You can also look up Kalo Shop, Chicago, jewelry. The ball peen
hammer is pretty universal for gold/silver/platinumsmiths.

Traditional Americana style tattoos often feature old mine cut
diamonds. Think OMC diamonds, “pirate” ships, and an anchor on the
arm. Look into the work of Sailor Jerry:

S.J. isnt around anymore, but as with our industry- his style lives
on through his mentees.

Im sure the Orchid Symbol would be recognised!!!

Good Luck,

Now, what kind of question is that you have a creative heart? 

well its not that i couldnt come up with somthing creative its that
i want somthing timeless, connecting past, the now & the future


How about a picture of a finger with a huge band-aid on it?

Susan Maxon

Although I see your point in the Au or numeric values, I think
perhaps a tood might be more significant and visual? A chasing
hammer, a jewelers saw, something along those lines might be more
evident to be jewelry related. Perhaps with the Au incorporated. Just
a thought since my own tatoos are not jewelry related :slight_smile:

BBR - Sandi Graves
Stormcloud Trading Co (Beadstorm)
Saint Paul, Minnesota

Hi Goo,

I think the most elegant and easily recognizable tool that we ALL use
and that is exclusive to the metalsmithing trades would have to be
the chasing hammer. I also really like the alchemist’s gold symbol
others have suggested. I think those two superimposed over an orchid
would be pretty trick! Anyone in the trade from the hobbyist to the
master would immediately recognize that tat.


how about a chasing hammer crossed with a sawframe 

Yes, this is just what I was thinking, except that I didn’t come up
with the saw frame. These 2 tools are recognizable and attractive,



A suggestion for your tatoo. The patron saint of goldsmiths is St
Dunstan, how about a stained glass window design, with St Dunstan in
the centre, surrounded by a selection of traditional goldsmith’s hand

I am a Fellow of the Institute of Professional Goldsmiths here in
the UK and our symbol is a goldsmith’s Bow Drill surrounded by
lettering. How about this shape with St Dunstan in the centre and a
selection of hand tools in the surround, replacing the lettering.

Just an idea.

James Miller FIPG

I think tattoos are very like jewellery - adornment that may mean
something, or can just adorn. I would think you would be better off
making yourself an unusual ring to be recognised by other
jewellers/goldsmiths; isn’t that the first thing you look at? If you
really want a jewellery tattoo what about a makers mark. You could
design one with the initials of your parents, because after all they
made you.

alison in Melbourne
whose only tattoo is a cupcake

I’m wondering where you were planning on putting the tattoo. If this
hasn’t been answered already.