Superintendent of Gold shall appoint a reliable, skilful, well trained goldsmith with high birth to hold his office. The superintendent shall begin his work with the classification of gold along with its source. The types of gold as included in Arthashastra includes the gold extracted from the mountains, gold received from mines, gold which is a product of river, gold which is a product of a mountain and the variety of gold which is extracted . Gold may be pure or amalgamated with silver or mercury, or alloyed with other impurities as mine gold .The quality of gold varies from the type which is of the colour of petals of lotus, glossy, ductile, and incapable of making any continues sound is of a superior quality; the type which is of reddish yellow is of middle quality; and the type which is of red is of low quality. A completely impure quality is whitish in colour. Kautilya then makes detailed provision for the treatment of different varieties of gold to be treated with lead and heated and hammered to reach a proper level of structure and purity. The same process will apply for silver as well.
Superintendent of gold, according to Kautilya, must possess complete knowledge regarding the processing and manufacture of gold and gold products. Under the supervision of the superintendent the process of treating the gold which is extracted from the mines are to be conducted. He shall further divide alongwith the suggestion of the expert goldsmith as to which type is to be used for jewellery and which is to be used for coins.
Superintendent of Gold like before shall be responsible for classifying the quality of silver as well. Like gold the quality of silver will also vary according to its source which has been described in Arthashastra The types of silver includes those extracted from mountains; a product of a particular region known as gauda; kambuka which is extracted from mountain Kambu and Chakravalika which is extracted from the mountain Chakravala. The silver which is white, glossy and ductile is of the best quality; silver with impurity will be treated with lead in proportion to the one fourth of the quantity of impurity present in the silver; the type of silver which is full of globules, white glowing and of a colour of curd is the pure quality of silver.
Superintendent of gold will then verify the quality of gold with one touch test. The gold reserve will be dipped into a solution of vermilion or sulphate of iron and if the colour of the gold remains white or natural then its purity is certified but if the colour goes black or blue then it will be rejected as impure. The pure gold also known as Suvarna has a uniform colour which is good for sale and which can be further utilised for making ornaments. In case of manufacturing ornaments Kautilya identifies few types of ornaments and advises the superintendent to be extra alert in observing the working of the goldsmiths appointed by him for manufacturing these products. Kshepana, Guna and Kshudra are the three types of ornamental work which has been mentioned in the Arthashastra
Besides these, Superintendent of gold was also responsible in maintaining security during which a person who is not employed will be allowed to enter the goldsmith's office; any workman who enters with gold or silver will have to forfeit the same; the goldsmiths who are engaged in manufacturing Kanchana (pure gold), prishita (hollow ornaments), tvashtri (setting gems in gold) and tapaniya as well as blowers and sweepers will enter and exit only after they are thoroughly cheeked up and verified by the person in charge.
Thus superintendent of gold as specified by Arthashastra, will be solely responsible for verifying the standard of gold which he delivers to the king and will ascertain the quality of tapaniya as per specifications mentioned in the Arthashastra.
(Last Updated on : 26-11-2010)
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