Chapter 3. CHAPTER III EARLY EXAMPLES

Table of Contents

PREHISTORIC SILVER AND GOLD
JEWISH PLATE

Prehistoric silver and gold-Egyptian silver-Jewish plate- Massive metal work. THE story of old silver, that is collectable silver, would be incomplete without some reference to the handiwork of those peoples who worked before the art of the silver-smith was fully developed, and whose productions have for the most part perished. There are records of the silversmiths of olden time in those wonderful stories of real life found in the Bible, and there have been finds of silver, wrought and cast, which tell of much native ingenuity in the fashioning of idols and in making ornaments and twisting and shaping metal so that it could be the more conveniently stored. The world's wealth has often been counted by the ingots of gold and silver its peoples have possessed, and by the visible treasure they owned. In very early days the store of silver and gold was made up of jewellery, things which answered the purpose of the retention of the precious metals in the form of bangles, armlets, bracelets and the like for personal adornment, thus serving a double purpose. Many of the earliest records speak of wealth consisting in jewellery and such treasures, rather than made up into usable things like cups, although the mention of vessels of silver and gold for use in temples and as royal insignia are many. They are by no means exhaustive, and the greatest stores of plate in olden time were, however, massive columns of silver and large pieces of the precious metal which could not be easily purloined. Just as to-day the possession much portable wealth causes anxiety, the treasures of the ancients must have given them much worry, for their retention in the days of robbery, and when might was right, made it very difficult to keep personal belongings intact. The frequent resort to burial in the earth and storing in secret hiding places preserved those treasures for future generations, for in many instances their first possessors died and left no records of their hoards, which in course of time have been found and carefully retained and conserved.