Isn’t it easy to cheat with the gold?
Yes, principally it is. You just use a gold alloy with a lower gold content than what you claim it is and take the price of the claimed alloy instead of the actual. However, obviously we (or any other honest jeweler) aren’t interested in that! On the contrary: We want to make absolutely sure, that our customers can trust us and so have organized a control and validation system to take care of exactly that.
This issue is obviously not a recent one: For as long as humankind has been able to cheat with the materials, humankind has sought to validate its honesty. This is one of the reasons the guilds started to emerge in medieval times. Guilds back then plaid a vast role in keeping their members in check, guaranteeing the authenticity of their materials and functioning as a union for the various trades.
The jewelers guild of Copenhagen is one of the oldest in the world – it was founded I 1429 and sanctioned by King Erik VII of Pommerania and his Queen Philippa. The holy protector of the guild is Saint Eligius, who was born in France around 590. He was a skilled metalsmith, a counselor to the king, he ransomed numerous slaves and built several churches and monasteries (he must have been rather wealthy). He was also a priest and later became a bishop.
The very first written document of the Jewellers Guild of Copenhagen is a 132 cm long scroll, which puts down the rules of the members and their benefits. Amongst others the document states, that members are forbidden to yield knives against each other, “spill” beer on each other, call each other “bastard” and pick fights. Seems like lively times back then…
Today everything is somewhat more civilized: When I became a member in the spring 2016, it took place over a lovely dinner. The new members all had silver beakers (yes, solid ones) and were ceremoniously presented to the current members before being handed their membership certificate. The Jewelers Guild of Copenhagen is working to promote the trade, by for instance supporting events like the “Show of the Guilds” (which I participated in this year – read a blog article about "Laugenes Opvisning" here).
It does not, however, oversee that their members are honest in their trade with the precious metals. This task is now taken care of by the FORCE Institute, which once a year comes by on an unannounced visit to take test samples of our metals. If these samples turn out to be of a lower alloy than what you claim, we might face a fee or even prison and we obviousely take this very seriously.
In other words: You can safely trust the gold sold by Danish jewelers. We have been working hard to prove our honesty since 1429!
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