Touchstone from the souk in Mutrah, Muscat, Oman, 1994

Made:
1994
Touchstone from a Goldsmith?s shop in the souk in Mutrah, Muscat, Oman.  Bought in February 1994.  This stone retains

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Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Touchstone from a Goldsmith?s shop in the souk in Mutrah, Muscat, Oman. Bought in February 1994. This stone retains
Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Touchstone from a Goldsmith’s shop in the souk in Mutrah, Muscat, Oman. Bought in February 1994. This stone retains traces of the ‘streaks’ from its original use. Previous identifier: 1994-1

Touchstones are fine-grained siliceous stones, on whose abrasive surface a gold sample undergoing checks for purity would be rubbed. A streak of gold would be left on the stone’s surface, which could be compared against gold of known quality, to establish the sample’s purity. Touchstones were the main means of assaying the quality of gold throughout history, but remain in use today.

Details

Category:
Metallurgy
Object Number:
2019-81
type:
touchstone
credit:
Gift of Dr W.A. Oddy