This article is a book review by Hannelore Gabriel for the book “Die Granulation” by Jochem Wolters, for the 1984 Fall issue of Metalsmith Magazine.
By Jochem Wolters
D. W. Callwey, Munich, Germany, 1983
330 pages, 300 black-and-white and color illustrations, DM 248
Die Granulation is the kind of lavishly illustrated special-subject book one gives as a Christmas present while keeping a copy for oneself to take off the shelf to spend many a rainy afternoon with. The 300 black-and-white and color photographs alone justify the purchase of the book, since the text is in German. The examples of granulation work were drawn from 215 museum and private collections showing pieces older than 4000 years up to work by Sigurd Persson, John Paul Miller and Elisabeth Treskow. Especially dazzling is an Etruscan gold vessel in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 6 cm high and 10 cm in diameter covered almost entirely by 137,000 granules. Then there are pieces from areas not ordinarily associated with granulation, like an Ashante gold pendant, southern Russian earrings and a magnificent silver goldplated bracelet from the Batak of Sumatra. Wolters gives the history of granulation from 2560 BC to the present with emphasis on the cultures of Europe and western Asia and also includes the development in many other areas like central Asia, southeast Asia and the pre-columbian cultures.
The descriptions of techniques are taken from numerous historical sources, quoting the authors directly, which gives an excellent base for research and experimentation. There are charts of alloys of golds and many other combinations as ancient as a formula for a gold solder by Nabonidus of 550 BC.
This book is a valuable source of information and a true inspiration, For those who are masters in the art, it might suggest different approaches. For those who have never tried granulation, it is the right push to start. And the many photographs of jewelry pieces give such good examples to explore—maybe a new-old earring form.
This book can be ordered from: Hannelore Gabriel, Book Department, SNAG 1469 Orsena Avenue, Madison, OH 44057. To order, check the current exchange rate of the Deutsch Mark, deduct 20% SNAG discount and add $4.00 postage.