A touch needle is a small needle of gold, either pure or alloyed with silver in a known proportion, designed for trying the fineness of a gold or silver item by comparing the streaks made by the needle and by the article on a touchstone. The technique was described by a Greek poet in the 6th century B.C.E., and has been used by European goldsmiths since the 12th century C.E. This example is a modern replica of the set described in Georgius Agricola, De Re Metallica (1556). It consists of 24 needles, each 2-inches long, made of either solid gold, or gold/silver alloys.
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