a piece of white gold jewelry next to a piece of silver jewelry

What is the Difference Between Silver and White Gold?

How to tell the difference between white gold and silver?

Although sterling silver may look just like white gold, the truth of the matter is that there is a crucial and distinct difference between the two precious metals. If you were wondering why white gold is sold for more than silver—even though they look pretty much the same—read on.

White gold behaves differently than silver does

For one thing, silver tends to be harder than white gold. This means that, while they may look the same, the silver is more difficult to use when a jeweler is making precision engravings. Frequently rings, brooches, and other items of jewelry are crafted with names or messages engraved inside them. It is difficult for jewelers to pull this off with silver, so they turn to white gold.

a piece of white gold jewelry next to a piece of silver jewelry

In addition, silver, as you know, can tarnish over time. If you look at a piece made from antique sterling silver, you can easily see the need for polishing to remove the tarnish. On the other hand, gold does not tarnish. So, for a piece of jewelry that will never need to be polished, white gold is the metal of choice.

White gold and silver are composed of different elements

While this might seem so obvious as to not even need noting, the fact of the matter is that white gold is composed primarily of, well, gold. Gold is inherently more costly than silver.

What we call white gold is actually a mixture of gold and other metals. Because the core element is gold, by extension it makes sense that white gold would be more costly than silver.

White gold is very easy on the skin. Some people tend to have a reaction when wearing jewelry made out of anything other than gold. While white gold is not pure gold, it is composed of a large enough percentage of gold to make it usable by people such as this. Further, while some people may experience some skin discoloration from silver (or other) jewelry, white gold will leave no such discoloration. Because of this, white gold is ideal for use by people with sensitive skin or allergies to some other types of metals.

Should you choose silver or white gold?

So then, which one is better? The answer is that it depends. Silver does have some applications where it would be preferred. Remember, silver tends to be harder than gold, so it holds up better to the wear and tear of everyday use. On the other hand, because white gold is composed of gold, it is more costly and has the positive attributes of regular gold.

If you are in the market to purchase jewelry, the determination of whether you want silver or white gold will really depend on your personal needs. If you tend to have sensitive skin, it’s a no-brainer that you would choose white gold. Likewise, if you are not very thrilled about having to polish your jewelry, it’s best to steer clear of silver.

Get your FREE verbal, no obligation appraisal!

Lion hallmark

Is Your Antique Silver Solid or Plated? A Guide

How to tell if something is silver plated or solid silver?

You have a prized silver antique collection, but do you know if it is solid silver of simply silver plated? Does it really make a difference? It does if you are concerned with the value.

Silver plating was developed as an inexpensive way for people who couldn’t afford sterling (or solid silver) to enjoy the beauty of the metal without the hefty price tag. In fact, some manufacturers got so good at creating silver plated items that it is sometimes difficult to tell the difference between the two. Unfortunately, when it comes to the value of your antiques, whether you have solid or plated silver makes a big difference, so it is important to be able to differentiate between the two.

Look for a Stamp

If your antique silver technique is truly sterling silver and not simply plated, it will be stamped with a telltale hallmark. Typically found on the bottom of the piece, a silver stamp may include:

  • The words “Sterling Silver’
  • A numeric value (800, 900, 925, etc.)
  • A lion hallmark

Lion hallmark

If you notice a stamp on your antique silver, use a magnifying glass to inspect it closely. International sellers commonly use the numeric values, as they will indicate the percentage of fine silver that is found in the piece. For example, a piece stamped with 925 will indicate that the item is 92.5% silver.

If your antique silver doesn’t have a stamp, you should be leery about its silver content. It may have simply been produced in a country that doesn’t stamp its solid silver products, but you should follow up with an additional test.

Perform the Magnet Test

A strong magnet can be a good tool in determining whether your silver antique is solid silver or plated. Silver exhibits weak magnetic effects, so if you hold a magnet up and it sticks to the piece strongly, you can feel pretty confident that the piece isn’t silver. Similarly, if the magnet doesn’t stick, you shouldn’t automatically assume that you’ve got the real deal. There are plenty of materials that resemble silver and are not magnetic.

Use Some Ice

Another great way to test whether or not you own a solid silver piece can be performed with something that is probably already in your freezer – ice cubes. Silver is an excellent conductor, meaning it relays heat and cold quickly. Put some ice on or inside of your silver item, depending on what it is, and wait to see if it gets cold. Sterling silver items should be cold in less than a minute. This is an especially helpful method when you have two items that you can compare, such as a sterling silver spoon and a spoon from a silver plated set.

Get Your Piece Evaluated

If you still aren’t sure about whether or not your antique is solid silver or silver plated, there are a variety of great professionals out there that can give you some insight. An antique dealer, auctioneer, appraiser, or estate sale company should be able to examine your item and tell you about its silver composition.

Get your FREE verbal, no obligation appraisal!

Tea set

Silver Patterns that are a Gold Mine for Collectors and Sellers

Have you inherited a set of the most valuable antique silverware and are wondering if it’s worth anything? Perhaps you’ve come across various sets of flatware at estate sales or thrift stores and wondered if you should purchase them to resell to a collector. Knowing some of the most valuable patterns and sets can be helpful if you’re thinking about selling your silver. Here are some of the patterns you might want to look for.

 

Antique Tea sets

The Wallace Grand Baroque Pattern

One good example of a set of silver that is worth a nice amount of money is the Wallace Grand Baroque pattern. You may find a standard set of four pieces (fork, salad fork, teaspoon, and knife) of this pattern selling for several hundred dollars. Like most silver sets, there are additional pieces available such as soup spoons, butter knives, and cocktail forks. There are a number of different factors that will determine the overall price you can sell a set of this silver for.

 

Tea set

Other Patterns to Look For

There are many other patterns you should look for if you want to make a nice profit by reselling silver. Here are a few of them:

  • Audubon by Tiffany – this pattern was produced during the 1950s. In addition to sterling silver, a gold-plated version of the Audubon pattern is also available.
  • Reed and Barton St. Frances – Reed and Barton began producing sterling silver sets in the 1800s. Their older sets are highly sought after, especially since the company went bankrupt in 2015.
  • Rose by Stieff – Stieff, now called Kirk-Stieff, produced a number of patterns. Their most famous is the Maryland or Stieff Rose pattern, a unique print that has been manufactured since 1892.
  • Cactus by George Jensen – this art Deco pattern was mainly produced during the 1920s and 30s.
  • Grand Victoria by Wallace – while not the pattern that made Wallace a true name in the silver industry, the Grand Victoria is still very popular among collectors.

a Tiffany mark

What Makes a Set a Gold Mine?

How do you know if you’ve got a truly collectable set of silverware or if you have something that’s best used at your next family gathering? There are a number of things to take into account. A few pieces of Rose by Stieff may sell fairly well to someone who needs to complete their set, but overall, collectors generally want full sets. A set of Audubon by Tiffany that’s polished, unbent, and undamaged will, naturally, fetch a higher price than a set with rust and obvious heavy use.

image of someone pouring tea out of a silver teapot

Antique Silver Tea Sets – Best Tips for Prolonged Use and Beauty Retention of the Set

One of the most beautiful pieces of silver you can have is a sterling silver tea set. These sets are elegant but also quite functional. Antique silver tea sets are often passed down through families and come to be known as treasured heirlooms. Unfortunately, as with any silver, these tea sets need to be kept in good condition in order for them to remain looking as great as they do. If you have an antique silver tea set, here are some tips for keeping it looking beautiful and functional.

Use It

One of the best ways to keep your silver tea set looking great is to use it regularly. While some antique silver tea set collectors are concerned that regular use will result in the set tarnishing, the opposite is actually true. When you frequently use your silver tea set and clean it properly, it will actually remain looking as elegant and beautiful as the day you inherited it.

Polish It Regularly

Whether you use it frequently or infrequently, you do need to make certain that you polish the tea set at least yearly. If you use it more often, you may want to polish it after each use or at least every few months. When you see spots on your tea set that look brown or light gold, you know it’s time to give it a polish. The best way to do so is to use standard silver polish and a soft cloth.

You can use some basic household items such as toothpaste or cornstarch to polish your silver, but you can also buy specific silver polishes. Just make sure the polish is designed for use on silver. This is the safest option to keep your silver tea set looking amazing. For tea sets that have very intricate etched designs or have areas that are hard to get into, you can use a cotton swab or even a soft-bristled toothbrush to clean it.

Rinse Out the Set After Use

Many silver tea set buyers look inside the tea pot and carefully inspect each item to make certain they were cleaned after use. Always rinse out your tea set before you put it up, but also be sure that no water is left. Wipe out all of the water before you put your tea set up since it can cause spots to appear. Make certain you clean your tea set if it comes into contact with anything that contains citrus, vinegar, or other corrosive foods. These foods can quickly cause damage if left in contact with the silver.

Storage

If you’re looking to buy sterling silver tea sets online, always ask how the tea set has been stored. Silver needs to be kept away from excessive heat and air. Ideally, it will be kept in an airtight chest or drawer. Many silver sets designed for use with hot beverages actually come with some kind of airtight container to store them in. Again, make sure that the tea set is completely dry before you store it in any of these containers. You should also wrap each piece in felt, cotton, or an acid-free paper before storing it.

antique-silver-tea-set

Uncovering the Real Value of Your Parents’ Antique Kitchenware

Hold up just a second before you go ditching that antique silver spoon collection your Mom handed down to you, or scrapping the antique kitchenware, you might want to do a quick search for “silver buyers near me”.

There’s a world of difference between silver buyers of antique silver and scrapping, pawning, or selling silver in a yard sale. Doing some research on the subject of Antique Silverware Buying & Appraisal is worth its weight in gold.

antique-silver-tea-set

Antique Silver and Silver Tea Set Buyers

A fortune could be hidden in your parent’s (and even grandparent’s) kitchenware. Antique silver potentially has much more value than if you sell it by weight alone. Antique silverware buying and selling is big bucks when there’s a history behind the piece or pieces. Even the decorative artwork on your antique silver can boost the value. It’s best to consult a silver tea set buyer or antique silver buyer when you are in the market to sell.

Finding a Trustworthy Buyer of Antique Silver

Unfortunately, especially with the boom of online silver tea set buyers and antique silver buyers cannot all be trusted. Even selling to a local buyer can be risky. You’ll want to check out any potential buyer you plan to do business with.

Find out if the business is local, or if it’s online, be sure there’s a longstanding internet presence that’s not flighty. Look for verifiable references that aren’t just on the company’s own website or social site. Check for credentials and length of time in business too.

Why Trust Antique Silver Buyers?

Antique Silver Buyers is a name you can trust as a silver tea set buyer, antique silverware buyer, and buyer and appraiser of antique silver of most any kind. We’ve been in business for 25 years and have a myriad of happy customers that sing our praises. Many are repeat customers we’ve had for years.

Based in Florida, Antique Silver Buyers is dedicated to doing business face to face. We believe that the appraisal, selling, and buying of antique silver should be a personal encounter that can only be conducted properly when it’s done eye to eye. We want to meet you and make your experience an ultimate one.

When it comes to selling your antique silver, turn to a trusted buyer you can trust. Turn to Antique Silver Buyers.

Tips on How to Care for your Antique and Vintage Silver Flatware Sets

Caring for your antique sterling silver flatware isn’t that difficult, but it is something you have to make sure you do. Otherwise, your silver may tarnish or be damaged in other ways. Here are a few tips that will help you keep your silver looking amazing.

Clean Silver

Use Your Silver

The first tip for caring for a set of silver flatware is one that surprises some people: use it. If you regularly use your silver, you’ll notice when it needs cleaning. If, on the other hand, you leave it in a drawer and only take it out for a special occasion every now and then, it has a lot of time to tarnish. Silver flatware collectors understand that silver was meant to be used, and they keep some of their sets in the kitchen for regular use.

Do the Dishes Promptly

It’s important that you clean your silver flatware after using it. If you let it sit, especially if it sits in water or has food on it, it can begin to tarnish quickly. Rinse it off using hot water after using it and dry it off before you put it away. To make sure you don’t decrease your antique flatware worth, only use a mild dish detergent and don’t leave it to soak in water.

Be Careful what You Wrap it in

If you’re only using your flatware every now and then instead of daily, make sure you store it in a flannel bag or a box that is lined with flannel. This will help prevent your antique silver flatware patterns from being scratched or damaged. You also want to make sure you never wrap silver in anything that contains a lot of sulfur. It can turn the silver black if you do. You also want to avoid wrapping silver in newspaper or plastic or using rubber bands to hold pieces together.

Antique silver

Techniques for Collector: How to Determine your Silver Worth?

Silver is a thing of beauty. Highly polished silver gleams like moonlight. It can be used as a mirror to show your reflection. It can made into beautiful jewelry and decorative items like candlesticks and elegant flatware. It can be made into valuable coins. Silver collectors know the value of silver. If you are looking to sell antique silver or join the ranks of silver collectors, you will want to know how to determine the value of silver. In this article we will explore techniques for determining the worth of your sterling silver.

sterling silver

Sterling Silver vs. Pure Silver.

Sterling silver is designed to overcome that flaw. It isn’t a pure metal it is an alloy. It is a combination of pure silver and other metals like copper, zinc or nickel. This generally results in a metal that is 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% of another metal. This makes the metal stronger and more useful for metal work. You might also come across items that are sterling silver plated, in which case the item is made of another metal and coated with a layer of sterling silver. That layer doesn’t last. It wears away.

There are other tests you can perform to determine if an item is sterling silver. Most precious metals, including silver, are nonmagnetic. That means that is an easy trick to identifying pure silver and sterling silver. A magnet will not be strongly attracted to pure silver. It will be attracted to the other metals in sterling silver. There is also an actual smell test that antique silver dealers know about. Since pure silver has no odor that means if you smell a metallic odor or the scent of sulfur the silver is sterling silver with other metals giving off the smell.

Which is more valuable to silver collectors?

So, understanding the difference between sterling silver and pure silver, which is more valuable? If you googled silver collectors near me and went to speak to the antique silver dealers you found in the results, what would they say? The answer isn’t simple. The fact is, pure silver is actually worth more than sterling silver because of the lesser value of the other metals that are in sterling silver. However, that is not the end of the story. The value of silver lies in what it can be made into. Pure silver is too soft to be useful when you want to make jewelry, for instance. Sterling silver is used instead. So, antique silver dealers who are looking for jewelry or other silver antiques will find value in sterling silver. For investors who are investing in silver as part of their investment portfolio, pure silver will be more valuable. The ultimate worth of your silver will depend on whether it is sterling silver antique that a collector or buyer would pay for, or whether it is pure silver bullion that is being purchased as an investment.

The Best Way to Clean Silver Jewelry: Tips & Tricks To Eliminate Smudge from Silver

Know How to Clean Silver and Save It

Are you tired of seeing smudges all over your antique silver flatware? If so, you probably spend a lot of time with a polishing cloth trying to get those smudges out. But what if there was a better way? There are a number of different old tips and tricks that you can use to get those smudges out of your favourite silver pieces.

Here are a few tips to clean silverware.

Vinegar

 

Vinegar

Olive Oil

 

Most people know that they can clean their antique silver using vinegar. It’s one of the time-testing methods that works incredibly well. It will also remove any tarnishing from your silver, leaving it looking brand new and smudge-free.

 

 

Olive Oil

 

 

This technique is great for cleaning items such as antique sterling silver bowls that are going to be passed around a lot. The olive oil will clean all the smudges off, but it does more than that. First, put a bit of olive oil on a soft cleaning cloth. Now rub the cloth against your silver, going with the grain. Then wipe it off using a clean cloth. You’ll remove a good amount of the olive oil, but very trace amounts will remain. These amounts will actually create a protective barrier that prevents future smudges. You’ll need to reapply every now and then, of course.

Use Proper Storage Techniques

If you don’t want to spend time cleaning your silver when you take it out of the cabinet, make sure you’re storing it correctly. All of the silver should be completely dry before you place it in the cabinet. Make sure each item is wrapped in special anti-tarnish paper or in flannel. Then put each piece into an air-tight bag. You can also add some of those small packets of silica gel to the drawer or cabinet. They will help reduce the humidity in the area.

 

 

Use Proper Storage Techniques

 

For items such as antique silver trays, you may want to get anti-tarnish cloth to place in between them when stacking. This is especially necessary if you’re not wrapping the entire piece in anti-tarnish paper. Silver scratches easily, so you want to make sure your items are protected.

Other Cleaning Methods

There are a lot of other common household goods you can use to clean the smudges off of your antique silver tea set and other silver items. Many of these techniques will also help you remove tarnish, so you can take care of two tasks at once.

 

Other Cleaning Methods

 

  • Use warm water and a mild dish soap.
  • Use soda water and a damp cloth.
  • Polish the silver with baby oil. Like olive oil, it will help create a protective barrier that prevents future smudging.
  • Use lemon juice.
  • Polish your silver with sheepskin.
  • Use a furniture polish wipe to remove smudges and other spots.
  • Clean your items with glass cleaner.

Many of these tips will work on all of your silver, but if you’re at all concerned, try the solution on a small, unnoticeable part of one piece of silver first.

Antique Buyers Near Me

Do Antique Buyers Near Me Buy Antiques at a Higher Price Than Online?

An antique can represent different things to different people. It might represent a piece of history that has been preserved to continue to be appreciated in the present. It might have a great deal of sentimental value and represent family history and departed loved ones. A fine antique can also be a good way to get some fast cash. The decision to sell can be a difficult one to make, however, once you decide to sell, you will obviously want to get the highest price possible for your antique. The question becomes, where to sell antiques. Will you get a better price if you sell antiques online or if find local antique buyers? In this article, we will explore where you will get a higher price, online or in person.

Sell Antiques Online

Advantages of Selling Antiques Online

Let’s begin by looking at some reasons why you might get a better price if you sell antiques online. To begin with, when you reach out through the internet you will find it incredibly easy to cast a wide net for antique buyers. You will find a much larger pool of potential buyers much faster online. That means you are more likely get a better price.

Additionally, people who buy and sell antiques online have a lower overhead than people who have a brick and mortar shop that costs a lot in rent, utilities, and the like. They might be able to make a greater profit from buying and selling antiques, and pass on the savings to you by offering you a higher price for your antique. If you make the rounds online and do some haggling, you just might find that you can drive up your selling price more than you can by just walking into a brick and mortar shop.

Looking at Local Antique Buyers

In the digital age we live in it may seem like doing everything online has become the default way of doing things but googling antique buyers near me may just get you the price you are looking for. There is an advantage to walking into a store and dealing with an antique buyer in person. Local antique buyers often have a wealth of experience and connections. Even if they aren’t interested in buying your antique or can’t afford to pay top price, they may be able to connect with someone who can.

Another advantage to selling at local shops is the ease of access. It is much easier to bring your antique to a local shop to be appraised and get quoted a price than it is to mail it to an online buyer. There is no risk of it getting lost or damaged in the mail. There is no expensive shipping and handling to be paid. If you can go directly to the buyer and haggle over the price in person with the antique right there with you. In the end, some old-fashioned leg work, combined with an online search might get you the best price for your antique.

Silver collections appraised

Antique Collectors need to get their collections appraised regularly. Here’s Why

Some antique silver collectors believe they know exactly what their collection is worth because they once had it appraised years ago. Unfortunately, these collectors are often shocked at the price they’re offered when they go to sell these pieces. That’s because going off an old appraisal isn’t a good idea. The value of sterling silver pieces isn’t set, and it’s possible you could make much more money than what you thought.

Antique Collector

Always Get an Appraisal Before You Sell

Before you sell any of your silver, you should always get a current appraisal. If you’ve had an appraisal done in the past six months or so, it’s unlikely the value of the piece has changed that much. Antique buyers are likely to do their own appraisal, too, but you can’t count on them to tell you if the value is higher than your selling price. They’re going to take the bargain if you don’t know any better.

Appraising Your Collection

Antique Appraisals

Even if you’re not going to sell, it’s important to have your collection appraised regularly. This will let you know the value of your silver, which is important for insurance reasons. The more valuable your collection, the more insurance you’ll want on it.

It’s also good to know the value of your collection so you can decide if you do want to sell or not. Even if you never had the urge to sell before, knowing the current value of your items might change your mind. When you find out how much your collection is worth, you might decide it’s time to find the best place to sell antiques near you!

What Changes the Value of Silver?

When you’re talking about antique silver pieces, value is based on demand and rarity. Items that collectors desire more than others are going to have a higher value. This is somewhat due to trends. Pieces that aren’t worth much now may become more valuable as collectors decide they want to own those patterns or items from that manufacturer.