< home
< back
 Infobank Judengassse Frankfurt am Main
 Houses  Persons  Families  Professions  Events  Terminology


Gold- and silver merchant / jeweller

Trade in gold, silver and jewels was a frequent occupation in the Judengasse.
Individual members of the extensive Goldschmidt frequently engaged in this activity as their family name ("goldsmith") suggests.

In the 16th and 17th centuries the Frankfurt Fair was one of the European trading centres for gold, silver and jewels.
There was an extensive trade not only in the raw materials but also in finished jewellery, often made by Frankfurt goldsmiths.
The large number of princely courts in Germany, the upper urban and rural nobility, wealthy citizens, the masters of the mint for the various imperial estates with the right to issue their own coinage and other customers used Frankfurt as their main source of supply.
As in other areas of commercial life, attempts were made to obstruct Jewish dealers.
Frankfurt's Christian goldsmiths, for example, tried to prevent Jews from dealing in finished articles made of gold, and there was also a strict ban on supplying the Frankfurt mint.
Despite these restrictions, the Frankfurt Jews managed to establish a nearmonopoly on trading in gold, silver and jewels from the second half of the 16th century.
The decisive factor was their close trading and commercial links with Amsterdam and Antwerp, which were the main centres for the jewel trade in particular after the discovery of the new sea routes.

© Jüd. Museum Frankfurt 1992-2002 /  Sources