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The texture of the Gold Plates


maupayman

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While reviewing the translation process in Rough Stone Rolling a quote by Emma Smith struck me as odd and I wondered if any of you had any insight. The quote is:

"I felt of the plates, as they lay on the table, tracing their outline and shape. They seemed to be pliable like thick paper, and would rustle with a metallic sound when the edges were moved by the thumb, as one does sometimes thumb the edges of a book". p.70

This description does not sound like what I would imagine gold plates to feel like. Does the consistancy described here, pliable like thick paper, make sense, given the properties of gold? I don't know much about gold, but this struck me as sounding odd. Thanks

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This is exactly what I would expect. I'm no smith (except for my surname), but I have been around metal enough that this feels perfectly normal.

Yours under the unimpressed oaks,

Nathair /|\

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Mike Reed, on 19 July 2010 - 09:51 PM, said:

But would they be "pliable like thick paper"?

My question: Could gold-leafed parchment "rustle with a metallic sound"?

exactly, has this been discussed before Mike?

The answer should be a resounding yes. Here is a link to a site detailing some of the properties of gold. Below is an excerpt:

Gold is the most malleable and ductile of all known metals. A single ounce of gold can be beaten into a sheet measuring roughly 5 meters on a side. Thin sheets of gold, known as gold leaf, are primarily used in arts and crafts for gilding. One sheet of gold leaf can be as thin as 0.000127 millimeters, or about 400 times thinner than a human hair.

Pure gold is soft and is usually alloyed with other metals, such as silver, copper, platinum or palladium, to increase its strength. Gold alloys are used to make jewelry, decorative items, dental fillings and coins. The amount of gold in an alloy is measured with a unit called a carat. One carat is equal to one part in twenty-four, so an 18 carat gold ring contains 18 parts pure gold and 6 parts alloy material.

Stating the obvious, one should expect that metal sheets would produce metallic sounds when moving against each other.

Glenn

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Set aside for a moment any preconceived notions on what the plates may have looked like that you may have based on artwork you may have seen.

Here is a photograph of some real gold plates. These plates are on display in the Seoul National Museum in Seoul Korea. I've seen them myself.

1-36.gif

The plates are made of gold hammered into thin sheets, about the thickness of thick paper. You can see the hammer marks on the sheets and they are engraved on both sides. Each sheet is bound to the previous by thin gold rings and it folds up accordion style. The sheets are flexible, much like how aluminum foil is flexible. They do not lay flat and neatly one upon each other, there is space between them due to the fact that the sheets are hammered to form them.

The gold plates that Joseph translated were most likely not the thick cast plates you are used to seeing in gospel artwork - its more logical to conclude that they would be somewhat similar to other actual archeological examples of gold plates that are known - and those are consistent with what Emma described.

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Stating the obvious, one should expect that metal sheets would produce metallic sounds when moving against each other.

Of course. But then again... nobody is disputing the obvious. The contention is whether or not metal sheets would be "pliable like thick paper." Sure... they would be pliable. But like thick paper? Sounds a little odd. Can you admit that much?

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Some critics believe Joseph made the plates from common tin.

Tin sheets are not very malleable and it is very difficult to

engrave them. They are thick and do not rustle like paper.

Bernard

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Some critics believe Joseph made the plates from common tin.

Tin sheets are not very malleable and it is very difficult to

engrave them. They are thick and do not rustle like paper.

Bernard

She didn't say that they rustled like paper. She said "pliable like thick paper," and would "rustle with a metallic sound."

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Of course. But then again... nobody is disputing the obvious. The contention is whether or not metal sheets would be "pliable like thick paper." Sure... they would be pliable. But like thick paper? Sounds a little odd. Can you admit that much?

Have you ever read La Reine Margot?

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She didn't say that they rustled like paper. She said "pliable like thick paper," and would "rustle with a metallic sound."

I stand corrected. Tin doesn't do that, either.

Bernard

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Set aside for a moment any preconceived notions on what the plates may have looked like that you may have based on artwork you may have seen.

Here is a photograph of some real gold plates. These plates are on display in the Seoul National Museum in Seoul Korea. I've seen them myself.

1-36.gif

The plates are made of gold hammered into thin sheets, about the thickness of thick paper. You can see the hammer marks on the sheets and they are engraved on both sides. Each sheet is bound to the previous by thin gold rings and it folds up accordion style. The sheets are flexible, much like how aluminum foil is flexible. They do not lay flat and neatly one upon each other, there is space between them due to the fact that the sheets are hammered to form them.

The gold plates that Joseph translated were most likely not the thick cast plates you are used to seeing in gospel artwork - its more logical to conclude that they would be somewhat similar to other actual archeological examples of gold plates that are known - and those are consistent with what Emma described.

Very interesting, thanks Connolly. I've learned something about gold today.

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Nope. But I saw the movie several years ago. Why?

You'll recall then how Charles IX met his death. He came across a book on hunting, wet his finger to flip the stiff and uncooperative pages, and died from the arsenic they were coated with. Paper in the past wasn't that pliable.

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Of course. But then again... nobody is disputing the obvious. The contention is whether or not metal sheets would be "pliable like thick paper." Sure... they would be pliable. But like thick paper? Sounds a little odd. Can you admit that much?

It depends on what your experience is. I have worked with very thin sheets of metal that could be rolled into a cylinder and unrolled and laid out flat, with a little patting. They were not as pliable as thick paper, but they were not made of the much softer and more malleable gold either.

My first paradigm concerning the plates were of thicker sheets than are currently envisioned, and that would have given me pause for thought about how pliable they could have been had I read that description by Emma.

There has been more information on metal plates including gold which can be found here which should satisfy the question on how pliable they can be.

Glenn

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