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How Do I Recognize Good Antique Silver?

How to recognize an antique,antique silver,look of antique info

Owning antique silver items is a dream that many people would like fulfilled, including you! Whether you inherit some in the form of treasured heirlooms, or you have a few of your own, they are definitely going to leave you thirsting for more! However, it is imperative that you stock up on some basic knowledge about antiques before you purchase any. Again, have dealings only with renowned and dependable dealers in silverware.

Here are some very simple methods of identifying silver from the past—

(1) Use your sensitive fingertips to discover blemishes and imperfections. Sometimes, they see what the naked eyes cannot! Do the objects reveal a lack of uniformity in certain areas (bowls and spoons, for instance)? The supplier better provide detailed information about the “unevenness”, then. The flaws will not detract from the value of such silverware, but they will help you determine the correct prices for them.

(2) Try breathing on the merchandise you are holding in your hand, and see what happens. As you may already know, exhaled air causes things to mist over. The now-misty surface will highlight repairs conducted on the item, if any. All the joints and patches (welding) will reveal themselves to your enquiring eyes. Do they seem modern in appearance? One such example would be a “repaired” coat of arms. If so, they have no business being on antique silver!

(3) Why don’t you spare some time for browsing informative “antique” websites on the Internet? They will tell you that every antique should exhibit the craftsman’s personal stamp and official hallmark (put there by the Official Assay Offices) on it. Thus, you will not find it difficult to identify who created a particular piece, when (date or decade of its origin) it was made, and where (location) it was created.

This hallmarking system has been prevalent from ancient times till today. There was a reason for its origination. Silversmiths of yore observed that crafting items from pure silver alone was near impossible; silver was far too soft to mould. It had to be combined with a few base metals (that were more resilient), before it could be shaped into varied objects. Therefore, a law was passed (as far back as 1300 BC) that silver metals had to be tested to ascertain that they contained at least (or even more) 92.5% silver.

England was extremely strict about the hallmarking system, but other countries also followed suit. For instance, Mexico uses numbers to indicate the quality of each object. So, if you look carefully at the markings, you should be able to recognize the style of a certain period too.

(4) These websites generally have blogs and forums too. Take the help of experienced experts.

(5) The local library will also have books and research papers on antique silverware and silver pieces. Take a look if possible.

This knowledge should suffice to convince any antique dealer that you cannot be taken for a ride!


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