Silver plate stamp dating
In Britain the most common grade of silver is 925 known as ‘Sterling silver’, the most popular grade around the world and so-called because it is 925 parts per thousand silver, the other 75 parts being other metals.
As silver objects made before 1700 are quite rare, I shall restrict my comments to those made after that date.A question staff are often asked at Woodbridge Antiques Centre is ‘how do I know if this is silver?’ So, if you’ve had a clearout and have found some pieces you are unsure of, here is a brief guide. Like gold, it is a soft metal and needs to be mixed with other metals to make it stronger.If you want to learn more about famous British silversmiths then click here (an ongoing project).If you want to learn more about silver-smithing then click here.Much of the charm and interest in British silver hallmarks lies in their variety and individuality.
However the main object of silver hallmarking was and is to protect the public against fraud.
It is a form of consumer protection, whose origin goes back almost 1000 years.
There are so many different hallmarks found on British silver that to know all of them would be impossible.
In Part I, I gave a brief history of the development of the British silverplating industry in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Now I would like to offer some tips on how to determine whether a given object is silver, Old Sheffield Plate or silverplate.
It has always been difficult to determine the purity of silver in an object by visual means and many countries have tried to establish a system of ensuring that certain standards are kept to protect customers who buy silver objects.