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Goldsmith or Silversmith?

Goldsmith or Silversmith?

A goldsmith or silversmith. Same person?
In this blog we will tell you the difference.

Back to school

First of all we are going back to school. After high school I went to "De Vakschool" in Schoonhoven. De Vakschool is a specialised vocational school and Schoonhoven is a town in The Netherlands also called "Silvercity".
This because in the 17th century there were a lot of famous silversmiths located in this town.

I went to Schoonhoven in 1996 to become a graduated goldsmith and jeweller after 5 years of specialisation. The first year at this school is a general year where you get to know all the different disciplines.
De Vakschool has got multiple specialised educations:

- Goldsmith
- Silversmith
- (Hand) engraver
- Watchmaker
- Clockmaker
- Jeweller

(Hand) engraver

Back in 1996 this was a study of 3 years (4 years in total with the first general year included) to learn every detail about hand engraving, machine engraving and embossing metals. It was one of my favourite lessons in the first year. But because of the small chance of ever finding work in this artistic profession I choose different.

Hand engraving

Watchmaker and Clockmaker

After the first year there is a possibility to choose the discipline watchmaker/clockmaker. The second year you learn a lot about watchmaking, watch repair, clock making and clock repair. And also a lot about history. By the end of the second year you choose the direction of specialisation in watches or clocks for the last 2 years.


My choice after the first general year. I found out I liked every specialised education in this year. I choose the profession jeweller because in the next 3 years I learned a lot about gemology, history, jargon in Dutch, English and German language, entrepreneur in a jeweller store and the rest of the specialised professions. To give you an idea: about 80% of the time is working with your hands and 20% of the time theory.


A goldsmith is a person who works with precious metals to make jewellery. Handcrafting rings, bracelets, necklaces, brooches etcetera. You learn every detail in three years. I choose an extra year of becoming a graduated goldsmith after my graduation as jeweller.


A silversmith is a creator of larger pieces of art such as cutlery, making silver bowls etcetera. In the 3 years of specialisation you learn to make new pieces of art and reparations of old pieces.

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