Sterling Silver

What is Sterling Silver? How to Identify Sterling Silver?

Sterling silver is among the most beautiful metals. It has a cool metallic sheen and reflective properties that catch the light in a lovely way. It is a small wonder that sterling silver has been used in fine jewelry, precious family silverware, elegant serving trays, vases, and other decorative accents. There many fine examples of antique sterling silver out there, some of which have been passed down in families for generations. Of course, there is also a great number of items out there that pass for sterling silver. If you have recently inherited some silver or are considering purchasing some silver, you may be wondering if it is genuine sterling silver. In this article, we will explore the questions, “what is sterling silver,” and, “how to identify sterling silver”. Determining if an item is genuine sterling silver is key to determining its value.

Sterling Silver

What is sterling silver?

The first thing you need to know is that sterling silver is different than pure silver. If something is advertised as pure silver that means it has 99% silver in it, as pure as you can get because 100% silver with no impurities doesn’t exist. The thing is, pure silver is extremely soft and malleable. It is too soft and that is where sterling silver comes in. Sterling silver is a silver alloy that is made by mixing pure silver with another metal, usually, copper, thought zinc, and nickel are sometimes used.

Sterling silver is usually 92.5% pure silver with 7.5% of the mixture being copper or another metal. Sterling silver is also sometimes coated with pure silver, but should still be labeled as sterling silver. Also, if something is labeled as sterling silver plated that means that the item is made of another metal such a copper or nickel and simply coated with a layer of sterling silver. This layer wears away over time.

How to Identify Sterling Silver?

The first thing to look for is sterling silver markings. If you are looking at an item and think it is sterling silver check for a mark of the manufacturer or silversmith. It indicates the purity of the silver and sometimes identifies the maker and date of manufacture. International sellers will stamp silver as 925, 900, or 800 to indicate the purity level of the sterling silver. Sterling silver has a purity level of 92.5% or higher.

There are several other tests you can perform to determine if an item is sterling silver. Most precious metals, including silver, are nonmagnetic. If you use a magnet on pure silver it exhibits only weak magnetic effects. Other metals, such as iron, copper, nickel, or zinc, are magnetic. If a magnet is strongly attracted to and sticks to an item then it is not high enough in silver to be sterling. Silver is also odorless. If you smell a scent of sulfur or a distinct metallic scent, then the item is not high in silver.

You can do some surface testing of the item to determine if it is sterling silver. Silver oxidizes and tarnishes. It requires polishing on a regular basis. If you do the polish test and polish the item with a white cloth, it will probably leave a black residue on the cloth if it is sterling silver. Lack of oxidation or rust could indicate the item is made from a different metal than silver. You can also do a scratch test and see if the item has flakes of silver plating that come off and reveal a different metal underneath. Also, if you take flakes of the item and put them in acid, the acid’s color will stay the same if it is silver. Lastly, silver has the highest thermal conductivity of any metal or alloy. If you take an ice cube and place it on the item it will melt faster than normal if the item is sterling silver. Using these techniques will give you high confidence that the item in question is genuine sterling silver.

Wm. Rogers Silver Plate

How to Identify a Wm. Rogers Silver Plate? History of William Rogers?

Who was William Hazen Rogers? He lived from 1801 to 1873, he was a well-known and widely regarded American silversmith and watchmaker. He was extremely prolific and had a long career that encompassed several different company names. He partnered with his brothers and other silversmiths during his lifetime. Together with his brothers and, later on, his son, he was responsible for the creation of hundreds of Wm Rogers silver patterns for silver, silver-plated cutlery, and serving dishes. His company and trademarks were eventually taken over by larger companies. This can make it challenging to identify his work. In this article, we will take a look at how to identify a Wm. Rogers silver plate.

wm rogers silversmith

History of William Rogers’ Career and Companies

William Rogers began by apprenticing with Joseph Church, a silversmith, and watchmaker, from 1820 to 1825. They became partners in 1825. Their company, Church & Rogers, manufactured silver-plate flatware and hollowware. From 1832 to 1838 he was partners with his brother, Asa Rogers, in the firm, A. Rogers Jr. and Co. The partnership expanded to include their brother Simeon from 1847 to 1853 as Rogers Brothers. From 1857 to 1861, and again from 1896 to 1873, he partnered with his son, William Henry Rogers, under the company name William Rogers & Son.

Starting in 1862, portions of the Rogers brothers’ enterprises were taken over by the Meriden Britannia Co., which, in 1898, became part of the newly formed International Silver Co.. Rogers and his brothers were associated with Meriden Britannia Co. until his death. From 1865 to 1869 he partnered with William Henry Rogers, William Henry Watrous, Thomas Birch, and William J. Pierce under the company name William Rogers Manufacturing Co. Clearly, he had a significant impact on American sterling silver marks over such a long career with so many companies.

Wm Rogers Silver Marks

One of the fastest and easiest ways to determine if a piece of silver was crafted or designed by William Rogers is to look for Wm Rogers silver marks. American sterling silver markings contain the mark of the manufacturer or silversmith. It indicates the purity of the silver and sometimes identifies the maker and date of manufacture. As detailed in the above paragraph, William Rogers was associated with a number of company names during different years. When you are looking at the sterling silver marks on a piece (or pieces) of silver look for one of the company names (ie. William Rogers & Son) and see if there is also a corresponding year. That will give you an idea of whether William Rogers was behind the design and manufacture of the piece.

Wm Rogers Silver Patterns

Rogers was a true artist who created hundreds of silver patterns. We have previously discussed his silver marks. They are a good place to start. Obviously, if you have a silver mark that belongs to him (or at least one of his companies) on a piece it makes it more likely that the pattern of the piece was designed by him. Keep in mind the years he was alive and creating as well. The year a piece was manufactured should raise the likelihood that he designed the silver pattern. In addition, there are guides that are helpful to silverplate pattern identification. “Silverplated Flatware- An Identification and Value Guide” by Tere Hagan is a particularly good tool for identifying Wm Rogers Silver Patterns. It is a comprehensive guide to historic silver patterns from a number of silversmiths and companies. William Rogers left behind a remarkable legacy as a silversmith and there is still a lot of interest in his work.

Deciphering Marks on Sterling Silver

American Silver Marks: Deciphering Marks on Sterling Silver and Silver Plates

Unlike silver items made in the UK, Europe, and some other parts of the world, American silver doesn’t have as many unique marks that make it easy to determine the manufacturer and other information. The U.S. doesn’t have assay offices, and up until 1905, there were no federal rules requiring silver manufacturers to place any type of quality guarantee on items.

Deciphering Marks on Sterling Silver

Silver Coin Marks

Prior to 1868, most silver in the U.S. was created by melting down silver coins. That meant the pieces greatly varied in purity. The coins used were, at the time, only sometimes marked with a standard mark. Even then, that mark often only said “Coin” on it and told nothing about the silver purity. The antique silver value of these pieces can be very difficult to tell, especially if you don’t have any information about the piece.

Sterling Silver and the Introduction of Marks

Following 1868, sterling silver became the standard for coins, and in 1907, a standard sterling silver mark was introduced. The Federal government now required manufacturers to mark sterling silver pieces with a “925” mark, guaranteeing that the piece was at least .925 or 92.5% silver. This acted like an assay mark.

A Variety of Marks

Soon, different silver manufacturers began marking items in their own unique way. Tiffany & Co. was the first to add their own mark by adding “Sterling” to the 925 stamp. Soon, other manufacturers were adding their company name or creating unique marks to place on their items. There were no regulations on these marks, though, so the information provided did vary from company to company. Some included the year or location where the piece was made, but others didn’t.

This can make it difficult for antique silver buyers to easily determine information about their sterling silver pieces. Fortunately, experienced appraisers are often familiar with many of the manufacturer marks.

Oxidize Sterling Silver

Household Silver: How to Oxidize Sterling Silver with 4 Simple Tricks

Many people love the look of shiny sterling silver. The brightness of the metal is why many purchase these pieces. On the other hand, sometimes people want their silver to look more like an antique, especially if it’s jewelry. To get that look, you can oxidize your silver pieces. There are a few ways you can do this at home without damaging the items.

Oxidize Sterling Silver

Use Boiled Eggs

This might sound odd, but boiling eggs can also oxidize your silver. Put two eggs in some water and get the water boiling. After about ten minutes, take the eggs out and put them in a baggie. Squish them up until they’re in fairly small pieces. This releases sulfur, which will oxidize your antique silver items when you put them in the bag. Just leave the item in the bag for several hours—the longer it stays in contact with the eggs, the more oxidized it will get. When you like the color, remove the silver piece, wash it, and dry it thoroughly.

Use Liver of Sulfur

Liver of sulfur is a mix of a variety of different things, including potassium thiosulfate, potassium polysulfide, and potassium sulfide. You can purchase it as a gel and add a bit of it to hot water. Then simply drop your silver household items into it until it’s the color you want. Don’t leave the items in too long, though, or the oxidization can start to look spotty.

Use Luster Gel

Luster Gel is a fairly new product that’s actually designed to change how your silver pieces look. It can oxidize them, but it can also be used to change the silver to many other colors. Simply select the color you want (the gel comes in a variety of shades) and follow the directions.

Go to a Spa or Hot Spring

This may not be an option for everyone, but antique silver buyers might accidentally oxidize everything they’re wearing by going to a hot spring or a spa! The high sulfur content of these natural areas will evenly oxidize anything silver in just a few minutes!

christofile silver marks

How to Spot the Most Valuable Christofle Silver Marks?

We all know that silver is one of the sophisticated and expensive metals. Owing to the craftsmanship and beautiful designs, silver items hold a special place in people’s residences. Silver not only holds a great value, but also it has a touch of sophistication. In the earlier days, people used to collect antique silver pieces to elevate the appearance of their homes. In the present days, it has been a trend of using silverwares for daily use and in special occasions as well. Are you fond of using silver items? Do you use Christofle silver items?

The Christofle silver items mark a touch of elegance. It is one of the pricey silverwares which you might have saved it for special occasions. Do the Christofle silver items have Christofle sterling silver marks? Christofle introduced high-quality silver items which will exude luxury and will also be affordable to you. Before you use the Christofle silverwares and other silver accessories for your home, you should be ascertaining that you are using authentic Christofle silver pieces. We are the trusted dealer of antique silver items in Florida. We will help you know how to spot the authentic Christofle silver with the help of Christofle silver marks.

christofile silver marks

Identify the Silver Pieces by Way of Christofle sterling silver marks

Christofle is one of the prominent silver designers who has designed innovative silver flatware pieces, crystal vases, silver picture frames, hollowware and porcelain dinnerware. The silver items of Christofle have been highly appreciated worldwide. How will the buyers know that they are using silver items of Christofle? In order to mark authenticity in the silver pieces, Christofle silver marks have been used. You will come to know you are using original silver pieces of Christofle when you will see the Christofle sterling silver marks in the silver pieces. In the following lines, you will get an idea on how to read silver hallmarks.

How to Read Silver Hallmarks?

Using silverware of Christofle is a matter of pride. While purchasing Christofle silverware, you should make sure that you are purchasing original products of Christofle. By reading the silver hallmarks, you will be able to make the difference between authentic and fake silverware. If you are thinking how to read silver hallmarks, then you should glance through the lines mentioned below.

Charles Christofle has used various types of markings on his silverware pieces since the early 1800s. People have come across many types of Christofle silver marks which kept changing with the passage of time. If you had used the silverware of the past years, then you might have noticed ‘GC’or ‘CC’ mark along with a scale in the middle portion. As years passed by, the word ‘Gallia’ was inscribed on the silver pieces. The Christofle sterling silver marks contain a number such as ‘925’ which is embossed on the piece of every silverware. The number implies that 92.5% silver has been used in the Christofle silver items. If you see ‘800’ on a silver piece, then you should know that the silverware is a plated piece instead of sterling silver.

Next time when you purchase Christofle silver items, you will keep the hallmark signs in mind as you know now how to read silver hallmarks. Use the best designed and original silver pieces which have Christofle silver marks from us.

4 Quick Ways To Tell Real Fake Silver

4 Quick Ways to Identify “Real Silver” v/s “Fake Silver”

When you purchase a piece of antique silver, you want to make certain it’s a true antique and that it’s really made out of at least 92.5% silver. Some pieces may look like true silver, but they’re not. They’re simply pieces designed to look great but also be quite affordable. How can you tell if something you’re buying is really silver?

Here are 4 quick ways to identify silver

4_Quick_Ways_To_Tell_Real_Fake_Silver

1. Look for the Mark

Silver should be marked with an assay mark that identifies it as pure silver. “Sterling,” “92.5” or “925” are required for silver made in Europe and other parts of the world. In the U.S., these marks weren’t always required for silver identification, unfortunately.

2. Tap It

Silver makes a ringing sound if it’s tapped. This sound is easily identifiable to those who know what to listen for. You can carefully tap silver plates, bowls, and other items to get a bell-like sound that’s fairly high pitched. To inspect silver coins, tap them with another coin or flick them up in the air. Always be careful, of course, that you don’t damage the silver. Any scratch or dent will decrease the value of antique silver.

3. Does Ice Melt on the Silver?

Another trick antique silver buyers often use is the ice trick. Silver is a great conductor of heat, so if you put ice on it, the ice should instantly start melting. If you put ice cubes of the same size on a ceramic plate and on a silver plate, the cube on the silver should melt much faster. Just remember to dry the plate after you’ve done it.

4. Polish the Piece

When you polish a piece of silver with a soft cloth, you should see some black marks appear on the cloth. That indicates that you’ve rubbed off some of the tarnish. If you don’t see this, it’s a good sign that the piece isn’t silver.

Antique Hallmark

Silver Hallmarks & other Identifiers – 3 Tips for Reading Hallmarks on Silver

In order to properly identify your antique silver pieces, you need to know how to read the hallmark on the item. These stamps indicate the year the item was made, where it was made, and who made it. It can also include a few other pieces, such as a duty mark, although that’s not always the case. If you’re not certain how to tell what these silver hallmarks are, these tips will help you.

Antique Hallmark

How to Make the Mark Easier to Read

Reading the hallmarks of a piece is essential to identify it, but it’s not always that simple. The silver hallmarks identification process is much more difficult on older pieces because the hallmark may not be as clear as it once was due to age or damage. One trick to making it a bit easier to read is to gently blow on it. The warmth from your breath will cause condensation, making the mark clearer.

Know the Common Marks

There are a number of common marks that appear on many silver pieces. For example, the lion passant is standard to identify a piece as sterling silver. If this mark isn’t there, it means the piece is most likely silver plated. You can find a list of the common town marks, date letters, and other hallmarks online or in a number of different guide books. If you’re going to deal in silver, you’ll need to become familiar with them.

lion passant marking

Understand the History of Silver

Knowing the history of silver flatware and other items can be very helpful for reading hallmarks. For example, if you see a duty mark on a piece, you’ll know that it was made between 1784 and 1890. You can narrow it down even more if you know when that mark was the king’s head and when it was the queen’s. All of this is vital information that can be used in antique silver appraisal and in your own personal identification of items.

image of baking soda

Cleaning Silver Trays – Basic Guide to Cleaning and Caring for Silver Trays with Stuff from Your Kitchen

Silver trays can look gorgeous. The finely etched pattern makes them the centerpiece of almost any table setting. But what do you do when these silver trays get tarnished? You can either run out and buy expensive silver cleaning products, or you can use a few things you likely already have in your own kitchen. Silver trays dealers around the world use these little DIY tips and tricks to keep their silver looking great without spending a lot of money.

Dish Soap

You may be able to remove some light tarnish simply by dipping the tray into warm (not hot) water combined with standard dish soap. You only need a few drops, so don’t go overboard or you may risk damaging the tray. Make sure that the soap is fully diluted in the water, too. Then dip your tray in, pull it out, and dry it off with a soft cloth.

Aluminum Foil and Baking Soda

One of the easiest methods for cleaning antique silver plated trays involves four basic ingredients from your kitchen. All you need is a tablespoon of baking soda, a tablespoon of salt, a sheet of aluminum foil, and two cups boiling water. Line a pot, baking dish, or even your sink with the aluminum foil. Mix in the baking soda, salt, and hot water. Then add in your silver tray. Let it sit for a minute or two, then carefully pull it out with kitchen tongs. A very large amount, if not all, of the tarnish will have transferred from the tray to the aluminum foil!

image of baking soda

Ketchup

While some people aren’t as fond of this method, others swear by ketchup. Just squirt some of this condiment onto a paper towel and gently rub at the tarnished areas of your antique sterling silver trays. You might be surprised at how much of the tarnish comes off! For trays that are heavily tarnished, you can leave the ketchup on for about 15 minutes. You can also use a soft bristle toothbrush to clean tarnish out of crevices. Rinse the tray off with warm water and dry with a soft cloth once you’ve got the tarnish off.

Cornstarch

Another common kitchen ingredient you can use to clean tarnished silver trays is cornstarch. Mix a little cornstarch with water to create a paste. Then apply that paste to the tarnished area and let it sit until it’s dry. Once it is, rub it off with a towel or cheesecloth. If you don’t have any cornstarch handy, you can use cream of tartar.

Lemon-Lime Soda

image of generic lemon lime soda

Another common item you can use to clean your items before showing them to potential silver trays buyers is any type of lemon-lime soda. You can let your trays sit in a bowl of this soda for about an hour. Then remove the tray and rinse it clean. A good amount of the tarnish will rinse right off. Pat the tray dry with a soft cloth and you’re ready to sell it.

Selling the Family Silver

Selling the Family Silver: Beware of Smelters Who Can Smelt Your Treasure into Trash

When you start looking for antique buyers for your silver, you’re likely to come across some people who offer to purchase your items sight unseen. If pushed, they may admit to buying silver by the ounce simply to melt it down. These companies often advertise that they buy gold, silver, and other specialty metals to recycle them. They will buy your family silver flatware along with silver coins, jewelry, and much more. They don’t really care what state it’s in, they simply want to melt it down and sell it as silver.

That might seem like a great deal. After all, you don’t have to do any research on the items. You just take in the family silver and walk out with a nice amount of money. But there are some reasons why these smelters may not be the best deal for you. In fact, they may turn your family treasures into trash.

antiques sale

They Don’t Care About the Pieces

If you’re selling to antique silver collectors, they’re going to value the age and rarity of the pieces. You’re likely to get more money for older items, especially if they’re items that the collectors have been looking for or that complete their sets. With smelters, that’s not the case. They don’t care if something is hundreds of years old or if it was made yesterday. If you’re offering them something that’s sterling silver (at least 92.5% pure silver), that’s all they care about. They pay the same no matter how old or how rare the item is.

They Don’t Look at History

That can be disastrous if you’ve got a rare piece that’s worth much more than the silver it’s made from. You could get a lot of money from the right collector. There’s also the fact that you may have a piece of history that is quite rare. In some cases, a museum may pay a nice amount for your silver. It’s always best that you do some research and learn about the history of the pieces you have before selling to smelters. Otherwise, you could not only accidentally lose a good amount of money, but you could also help destroy something that’s priceless.

antique silver item

They Don’t Pay Well

If you search for the best place to sell antiques, you won’t find smelters on the list. That’s because they don’t pay that well. That’s because they will likely resell any silver they buy from you after the melt it down. This means they have to have some room in the price to make a profit. If you’re looking to get top dollar for your silver, smelters and anyone else who plans on reselling the silver later is not the place to go.

If you know the silver items you have aren’t worth very much, smelters may offer you the best price you’re going to find. However, make certain that you’ve done some research on the items and even had them appraised by a silver expert first. The last thing you want to do is sell valuable silver items to a smelter for next to nothing.

Antique Silver

Are you selling precious silver items for scrap prices? Read how & where to sell before you do

Do you have some silver items that you want to sell? There are a couple of different ways you can sell antique silver bowls and other silver items. The easiest method is to sell them as scrap silver. This involves finding a business that will buy the silver from you for its current value. They then melt down the items and sell off the silver to a company that will use it to make something else. A quick search for “where can I sell silver bowls” is likely to reveal a number of these businesses in your area.

Antique Silver

Is This the Right Method for You?

Selling your antique sterling silver bowls and other silver items as scrap may not actually make you the most money. If your items are truly antiques, they’re likely worth much more as they are. Before you sell them to a scrap business, make certain you’ve researched the piece and know what it’s truly worth. You may be able to get much more for it by selling to silver bowls collectors online.

Antique Collection

Understanding How it Works

When you sell to a silver scrap business, they usually pay you the current silver value per Troy ounce for your item. It’s important to know that it’s by Troy ounce, which is 0.911 of a U.S. ounce. Before you sell, determine the weight of your pieces in Troy ounces. Next, go online and look up the current value of silver per Troy ounce. Multiply that times the weight of the piece to get its value.

Take Premiums into Account

Remember, though, that you’re likely to get less than what you’ve calculated. Buyers charge a fee to purchase scrap silver. This covers their time in evaluating your items, the work it takes to melt them down, and provides them with a profit when they resell the silver. Some places charge as little as two percent, while others may charge upwards of twenty percent.