Ioan  de  Arphe   -   Teacher  of  Assayers

Qvilatador de la Plata, Oro, y Piedras

Arfe in person placing a cupel in the furnace.
Remark also a balance (upper left side).

Ioan de Arphe


Juan de Arfe y Villafañe (*1535, 1603) was a well known goldsmith and silversmith of German ancestry (the cradle of his family is in Harff , near Bedburg,  Rhineland). He was born in the city of León (Spain).

His family had a long tradition of precious metals working. His grandfather Enrique de Arfe was active in Andalusia where he left numerous woks.

Juan was above all builder of processional shrines ("custodias procesionales") and golden statues and also precious metals assayer in the Segovia Mint ( Real Casa de la Moneda de Segovia - "Ceca de Segovia" ).

He wrote a Goldsmiths' Treatise called Quilatador de la Plata, Oro, y Piedras published in 1572.


It contains 5 sections:

● In the First he exposes the Castilian marc and its weights. He teaches the silver alloys with the tables for high and low silver alloys.

● In the Second he shows the gold weights and how to make gold alloys with high and low amounts with tables done for this purpose.

● In the Third he deals with ways of assaying both metals (gold and silver).  

● In the Fourth how silver is to be examined and how the weights and measures are made for all maintenances with table with the prices.

● In the Fifth he deals with the value and knowledge of precious stones and pearls, with part of their virtues.

Qvilatador de la Plata, Oro, y Piedras
Compvesto por Ioan Arphe de Villafañe.
Imprenta de Alonso y Diego Fernādez de Cordoua.
Valladolid, Año 1572.

Facsimilar reprint:

Qvilatador de la Plata, Oro y Piedras, Juan de Arfe y Villafañe
Librerías París – Valencia.  Valencia, 1985.


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