Touchstone testing set for assaying gold, Istanbul, 1987
A touchstone testing set consisting of 3 dropper bottles, and a synthetic touchstone in a wooden rack bought from a jeweller in the gold bazaar in Istanbul in c.1987
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.