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How to Tell If Your Antique or Collectible is Sterling Silver or Silver Plated

Every antique enthusiast dreams of finding a “sleeper”, a antique that is greatly undervalued or not recognized for the quality that it is. I first had this thrill while digging through a bin of junk stainless and silver plated flatware that were being given away. Imagine my surprise and delight when I discovered 40 pieces of sterling more »

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How to Date Antique Jewelry: If the Clasp could talk

Short of a date monogrammed on your jewelry, the clasp on your antique jewelry is perhaps your most significant indication of the date your jewelry was produced. A clasp is not just a mechanism. It likely has a patent date and industrial hay day. The standard for antique Victorian pieces will be the c clasp more »

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How to Approach Unmarked Gold and Silver Antique Jewelry

Unmarked jewelry has a stigma for obvious reasons; antique jewelry has its share of unknowns. But often a good piece is turned down when a precious metals purity mark is not in sight. A fine gold bar pin can be dismissed when there is no stamped 14k or 585 on the back. A gorgeous Etruscan more »

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How to Research Your Costume Jewelry Maker Date and Value

To research a costume jewelry piece, find the maker, date it, and determine its value. Finding a Maker Look for a maker’s name on the body of your costume jewelry. Experienced vintage jewelers can identify vintage jewelry by their look, feel, and craftsmanship.  Antique  is unmarked, but boasts detailed elegance that it can be identified more »

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How to Identify and Appreciate American Arts and Crafts Silver

There certainly is a lot to love about the silver of the American Arts & Crafts movement – the glimmer of a beautiful hand hammered finish, the impressive weight of a piece hand wrought out of thick silver, the variety of innovative designs. But what I find most interesting and most appealing about this movement is the fact more »

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What Asian Art Beginners need to know about Antique Chinese Porcelain

In recent years the market for Chinese antiques has increased dramatically.  Objects that have been collecting dust for decades have suddenly become highly desirable, fetching impressive prices at auction, often many times their pre-auction estimates.  Just last September a white jade seal turned up in a suburban Philadelphia home and realized $3.5 million at auction, more »

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How to Decode Dutch Silver Hallmarks Looking for Purity, Makers, Duty and Date Marks

I still remember the combination of frustration and confusion I felt when examining my first piece of Dutch silver, turning the piece over and over and over in my hands straining to find anything resembling a hallmark. Eyes more experienced and better trained than mine could easily pick the marks out of a sea of hand chasing and more »

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How to Identify Silver American Aesthetic Movement Antiques

When I started my adventure in the world of antiques, I remember often hearing the phrase “Aesthetic” or “Aesthetic Movement” used to describe pieces which to me seemed completely unrelated. What did these pieces have in common, and what was it that made them “Aesthetic”? In time I learned that the Aesthetic Movement took place more »

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How to Clean your Sterling Silver or Silver-Plated Flatware

The ongoing  task of keeping silver beautiful is certainly epitomized in the job of polishing. When I pull out my formal service flatware to prepare it for a meal, I relish the moment as I clean the gorgeous detail of my set. Through our years in fine antiques, we have found flatware to be a more »

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How to Use Leather for Safe Silver Hollowware Cleaning

One of the greatest challenges when cleaning a sterling silver bowl, teapot, compote, shaker, or kettle on stand, is cleaning it without damaging it. When the weight of the individual cleaning it is incorrectly applied to the piece, it can easily result in dents, or one area being pushed into the other. Among the most more »

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