Entries linking to goldsmith
"precious metal noted for its color, luster, malleability, and freedom from rust or tarnish," Old English gold, from Proto-Germanic *gulthan "gold" (source also of Old Saxon, Old Frisian, Old High German gold, German Gold, Middle Dutch gout, Dutch goud, Old Norse gull, Danish guld, Gothic gulþ), from PIE root *ghel- (2) "to shine," with derivatives denoting gold (the "bright" metal).
The root is the general Indo-European one for "gold," found in Germanic, Balto-Slavic (compare Old Church Slavonic zlato, Russian zoloto, "gold"), and Indo-Iranian. Finnish kulta is from German; Hungarian izlot is from Slavic. For Latin aurum see aureate. Greek khrysos probably is from Semitic.
From Homer on through Middle English, "red" often is given as a characteristic color of pure gold or objects made from it. This seems puzzling, but it might stem from an ancient practice of testing the purity of gold by heating it; in Middle English red gold was "pure gold" (c. 1200).
Nay, even more than this, the oftener gold is subjected to the action of fire, the more refined in quality it becomes; indeed, fire is one test of its goodness, as, when submitted to intense heat, gold ought to assume a similar colour, and turn red and igneous in appearance; a mode of testing which is known as "obrussa." [Pliny, "Natural History," 33.19]
Middle English smith, from Old English smið "blacksmith, armorer, one who works in metal" (jewelers as well as blacksmiths), more broadly, "handicraftsman, practitioner of skilled manual arts" (also including carpenters), from Proto-Germanic *smithaz "skilled worker" (source also of Old Saxon smith, Old Norse smiðr, Danish smed, Old Frisian smith, Old High German smid, German Schmied, Gothic -smiþa, in aiza-smiþa "coppersmith"), from a suffixed form of PIE root *smi- "to cut, work with a sharp instrument" (source also of Greek smilē "knife for cutting and carving, chisel").
Attested as a surname by c. 975. Also used in a Middle English psalter of God, when he created light. Other common surnames meaning "smith" include Ferraro (Italian), Haddad (Arabic), Kovács (Hungarian, a Slavic loan-word), Kowalski (Polish), Herrero (Spanish), Kuznets (Russian), MacGowan (Irish, "son of the blacksmith").
updated on March 25, 2015