Film Archive

16mm films, VHS tapes and DVDs are held on subjects relating to silversmithing, jewellery and allied crafts. They range from the latest DVDs commissioned for Goldsmiths’ Company exhibitions to 20th century films which are now mainly of interest as historical sources.

Most resources are available on loan to groups and organisations, apart from the VHS tapes, which can only be viewed in the Library. The Company’s own technical DVDs are also available to view in the Library. Please contact us for more details.

Loan Conditions: Any damage to the tapes and DVDs, whether before, during or after showing, to be reported on their return. A maximum of two films can be borrowed at any one time and the normal loan period is for three weeks.

View a clip of A Place for Gold.

Listing of available films


The Argyle/Kutchinsky Diamond Library Egg

Lavish production showing the making of the Egg from design through to completion.

VHS. c.20 mins. 1991

Art Of Enamelling: A Historical Background Based on the Lectures Of Reginald Hill

This is an historical lecture on the history of enamelling based on the notes and slide collection of Reginald Hill. It charts the development of processes and the effect on the style of enamelled pieces through the ages in two parts. The first part covers enamelling up to the 16th century and the second part is on enamelling from the 16th century to the present day. The techniques of cloisonné, champlevé, basse taille, niello, plique-à-jour and others are discussed in their historical context. The story is also told through craftsmen from Eilbertus of Cologne, one of the first known enamellers working in the 12th century, to the creative art forms of the 20th century exemplified by Marit Aschan. The film also covers the enamel work of Limoges, Battersea, Elkington, Hardman and Co., Fabergé and Fisher. This is a concise and fascinating introduction to the history of the technique.

VHS. 44 minutes. 1986

Artistry in Silver

(London Guildhall University film)

This promotional film was generously given to the Library by the American silver firm of Samuel Kirk and Son, of Baltimore. It contains a resumé of the manufacturing processes responsible for the production of their highly decorative silver. Many of the manual processes, such as raising, spinning, chasing and engraving, are shown. On the mass production side the film shows how spoons are made, from the raw silver to the finished product.

16mm. c.15 mins. 1966

Artistry in Tureens

This film was specially commissioned by Campbell Museum to coincide with the exhibition of American silver and silver-gilt, European porcelain and faience at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. It shows the production of a silver tureen based on a work by Paul de Lamerie and a porcelain tureen from the famous Nymphenburg factory. The film was shot at the London workshops of C.J. Vander, Silversmiths and the Nymphenburg Palace in Bavaria.

16mm. c.22 mins. 1972


This film, a study of the precious metal, gold, demonstrates how it has always been recognised and prized as unique. Magnificent examples of the goldsmith's art from the world over trace the acceptance of the metal, by successive civilisations, as the ultimate medium for personal adornment and an irreplaceable basis for trade and exchange. The film travels from the crown of a young queen of Ur to the solid gold bath in a Japanese hotel, and from the first coins of King Croesus, through the vaults of the US Federal Reserve Bank, to Red China's gold smugglers plying through Macao.

16mm. c.29 mins. 1969

British Silverware – A Living Tradition

It should be noted that the subject of the video is silver plated wares rather than silverware. The strength of the video lies in its clear presentation of the manufacturing process; it guides the viewer through the cutting of copper blanks, spinning, beading, glazing, the application of decorative wires, soldering, jigging, washing and plating. The reliance on skilled craftsmanship and hand processes is evident throughout.

VHS. c.35 mins. 1988

Carl Fabergé

A. Kenneth Snowman, of Wartski, the London retail jewellery firm, uses this hour-long documentary programme, specially made for video, to discuss Fabergé's life and background, and makes a detailed examination of more than 60 individual pieces drawn from important private collections in Europe and America.

VHS. c.60mins. 1982

Collet Production and Setting

These are two videos from a set of 20 programmes produced by the London Guildhall University on collet setting. Both are practical demonstrations in close-up of the step by step processes involved in the setting of a roundwire collet. The first video shows the preparation of the wire, the cross for the claws and the turning up of the claws. The second video shows the setting of a brilliant cut stone. The two videos are designed as a teaching aid to be shown together. The commentary is clear with many tips. The films expect some prior experience and knowledge of the basic technical terms.

VHS. (1) 25 mins and (2) 11 mins. 1985

Creation: An Insight into the Mind of the Modern Silversmith

Group of films accompanying the summer exhibition held at Goldsmiths' Hall, 27 May to 10 July, 2004. The exhibition showcased 13 silversmiths, who had been filmed discussing their particular creative process as they developed pieces in their workshops. These films were shown alongside their work. The DVD was a collaboration between the silversmiths and the film students of Ravensbourne College which resulted in 13 strikingly different and fascinating stories, giving the viewer a rare opportunity to see the creative process and personality behind the exhibits.

DVD. c.100mins. 2004

Creation II: An Insight into the Mind of the Modern Silversmith

Group of films accompanying the summer exhibition held at Goldsmiths' Hall 29 May to 11 July 2009. This exhibition focused on the creative talents of an elite group of 12 distinguished artist-jewellers, individually chosen by the curator, Mary La Trobe-Bateman. The DVD which accompanies the catalogue features short films of ten of the exhibiting jewellers made by students from Goldsmiths' College (London), the International Film School (University of Wales) and Edinburgh College of Art.

DVD. c.35mins. 2009

The Creative Art of Jewellery

A film by Jack Prentice, an American jeweller, who produced and starred in it. It illustrates the evolution of a gem-set ring from concept to design to finished piece. It shows the many techniques and skills of the jewellery including alloying, rolling, cutting, annealing, chasing, setting, sizing, polishing etc., involved in the productions of one item of jewellery.

16mm. c.18 mins.

A Crown of Pure Gold

A documentary, made for the BBC and shown on television on the morning of the Prince of Wales's Investiture, 1 July 1969, at Caenarvon Castle. Some extra material has been added. The crown, the gift of the Goldsmiths' Company to the Queen, was designed by Louis Osman and the main structure is of pure gold. It was the first gold object to be made by the process of 'electro-forming', which builds up the gold rather like the formation of coral. The film shows the design and manufacture of the crown, its hallmarking in Goldsmiths' Hall and scenes from the Investiture ceremony.

16mm. c.20 mins. 1969. Now available on DVD

Diamonds – A Fascination

Produced for the Diamond Information Centre, this video provides a discussion of the industry and its history. There are interviews with many great jewel houses and designers including Cartier, Tiffany, Henry Wilson, David Thomas, Courts and Hackett, Boucheron, and Graff. They discuss a variety of questions such as: how they design; who for; how they feel about diamonds; when they choose to use them and the qualities they look for. The historical conquest of the establishment of an industry is placed alongside the modern market-place with winning pieces from the Diamond International Awards 1990 on show.

VHS (2 editions of one film on the same tape). 15 mins and 27 mins. 1990


Filmed by Brighton Polytechnic in two parts, each lasting 30 minutes, the first part introduces a brief history of the more common processes of enamelling followed by a demonstration of some of the techniques by Jane Short. The second part features Rosalind Conway working on a single modern piece and reinforces the limited technical content of the first part. The two parts are available on one cassette with an accompanying booklet. Part I is also available as a separate cassette.

VHS (two parts). 30 mins each. 1987

The Epitome of Elegance: The Manufacture of Cutlery

Parts I and II. This video shows the lengthy hand and machine processes involved in the manufacture of electroplated nickel silver and stainless steel flatware. It is divided into two parts, the first dealing with forks and spoons, the second with knives - some repetition inevitably results. The video was produced by Pointion Productions Ltd as promotional material for Arthur Price of England.

VHS. Part I, 15 mins, Part II, 20 mins. 1988

Hallmarking at the Goldsmiths Company, Assay Office London

Short film explaining the history and meaning of hallmarks and the process of assay, intended for the general public.

DVD, 15 mins. 2006

Hallmarking of Gold, Silver and Platinum

This film has been made from material taken from the earlier film, Hallmarking, directed by Andrew Holmes. New material has been added and the film has been produced for Assay Office London by British Films Ltd. The film opens with a display of the Goldsmiths' Company's plate and illustrations of hallmarks on silver. Scenes from the Assay Office show the sampling and testing of wares sent for hallmarking. The processes for gold and silver the atomic absorption spectrophotometry method of assaying platinum are clearly explained. The history of hallmarking from the earliest times is illustrated by the major changes in the marks and by showing the town marks of the Assay Offices currently hallmarking gold, silver and platinum.

VHS. 16mm. c.18 mins. 1968, revised 1979

Jewellery through 7,000 Years

This film is the companion to the British Museum publication, Jewellery Through 7000 Years, based on the exhibition of the same title. It shows demonstrations of jewellery making, archaeological sites, as well as items from the British Museum.

VHS. 16mm. c.35 mins. 1978

Lost Wax Casting

This film covers all the aspects of the process: making a rubber mould, cutting moulds open, removing master pattern, injecting wax into mould, building up wax tree, mixing investment, placing cans into the furnace, burn out, casting, removing tree (cast), overview of master patterns, wax patterns, cast trees, castings in a variety of sizes, finished work. This film is targeted at individuals or workshops thinking of setting up a casting plant, students involved in jewellery and silversmithing, and interested parties expanding their knowledge of the process.

VHS. c.30 mins. 1993

Of Jewels and Gold

This film tells the story of gold from the beginning to 1972 through the medium of jewellery. It shows the techniques of goldsmithing and also international designers in their studios and workshops. Many of the designers are drawn from other fields of art.

16mm. c.25 mins. 1972

Masters of Silver

This title was produced by the Smithsonian Institute, Washington DC to play during the Smithsonian exhibition Masterpieces by Omar Ramsden from the Campbell Collection. Filmed in the UK, it features interviews with former Ramsden employees Leslie Durbin and Ernest Wright, silversmith Christopher Lawrence, Eric Turner of the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Goldsmiths' Company Librarian, David Beasley. The video looks at Ramsden's life and work and draws a comparison with modern and ancient styles and methods of production.

VHS. c.15 mins. 1992

Paper to Metal

This film is a practical demonstration produced by London Guildhall University in the series ‘Processes For Creative Jewellery and Diamond Setting’. It shows how designs on paper are transformed into a 3D form. The process of tracing the design, preparing and cutting the metal and finally bending into shape is shown through two jewellery designs. The first is relatively simple and the second demonstrates how those principles can be applied to a more complex piece.

VHS. Part I - 22 mins, Part II - 28 mins. 1985

A Place for Gold

This film, directed by Basil Wright, follows the story of a young silversmithing apprentice, arriving at Goldsmiths' Hall for the traditional ceremony of receiving his 'freedom' as a qualified craftsman at the age of 21. There are shots of this historic building, of pieces from the British Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum. The film describes some of the past and present activities of the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths, shows how a silver jug is made by hand from a flat sheet of silver, and visits some of the leading British silver factories and shops.

16mm. c.26 mins. 1959

Platinum Jewellery

This film traces the history of platinum from the ore discovered in Colombia by the Spanish Conquistadors to its eventual isolation as an element. The mining and refining of the metal is shown as well as its chemical and industrial applications. The latter half of the film is devoted to the use of platinum in jewellery - in particular in the setting of precious stones.

16mm. c.20 mins. 1981

Platinum Pt

This film documents the history, properties, the processes of mining and the uses to which platinum is put. The story is told from its production from ore through to its diverse uses in industry and jewellery.

VHS. c.20 mins. 1981


A film sponsored by the Silver Institute of America which illustrates the history and methods of silver mining, the process of recovery from silver-bearing ore and the properties and uses to which the end-product is put. Aerospace, electrical, electronic and photographic industries all make use of the invaluable properties which silver possesses.

16mm. c.28mins.

Silversmith of Williamsburg

This film deals with the working methods of the 18th century American colonial silversmiths. It was made at the living museum at Williamsburg, West Virginia, and is set in period costume. The story opens with the silversmith, William De Matteo, receiving a consignment of imported silver from England. A discussion with a customer follows regarding the commissioning of a coffee pot. The manufacture of this pot through all its various stages provides the main theme to the film. The processes shown are authentic for the period and the majority of the manual skills are still practised today.

VHS. 16mm. c.45 mins.

William Comyns – Gold and Silversmiths

This film is a promotional piece which shows off the wealth of traditional workshop skills at Comyns which were utilised in their reproduction of the large Paul de Lamerie wine cooler of 1726, owned by the Hermitage Museum. Many skills are shown especially chasing and polishing.

VHS. 30 mins. 1992

Directed by Basil Wright, this film follows the story of a young silversmithing apprentice, arriving at Goldsmiths' Hall for the traditional ceremony of receiving his 'freedom' as a qualified craftsman at the age of 21. 16mm. Full film c.26 mins. 1959
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History of the Company

The Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths, more commonly known as the Goldsmiths' Company, is one of the Twelve Great Livery Companies of the City of London and received its first royal charter in 1327.

Highlights from the Archives

The Company’s archives date back to the 14th century, and the Library's collections include over 8,000 books and over 15,000 images, magazines, journals, films and special research collections.

About the Library

Housed on the first floor of Goldsmiths’ Hall, the Library was established in the 1950s as part of the Company’s mission to promote jewellery and silversmithing. Contact us or arrange a visit.