online resourceposted on 26.10.2021, 19:40 by Helena HamerowHelena Hamerow
Touchstone, in form of smooth velvety black pebble: oval, one end cut away and polished smooth, underside flattened, length 5.75cm, 1.8cm thick. Mayer index card identifies as Dolerite (a mineral allied to basalt containing feldspar). But touchstone is usually made of Basanite: velvet black siliceous quartz. Dictionary for Touchstone says it is a smooth fine-grained black or dark-coloured variety of quartz or jasper used for testing the quality of gold and silver alloys by rubbing them on it. Faussett notes that it has 'some stripes or strokes of gold very visible upon it when found', and indeed there are still such golden traces on the rounded upper face and the flat end, though whether the same as Faussett found or subsequent experimental remains it is impossible to say. There are also on the upper surface shallow grooves as figured.