Published by The Staffordshire Hoard Websire July 27, 2012
One of the challenges we face in conserving hoard objects is the softness of the metal, especially the gold. Many hoard objects have a high gold content (there is a wide range but 60–80% gold is seen frequently), and gold is a particularly soft metal that can be scratched easily.
Steel implements such as scalpels, picks and pins are commonly seen in a conservator’s toolkit, but these tools are harder than the hoard objects and are therefore not ideal for cleaning objects because of the high risk of scratching.
– Taken from Article