Sterling Silver

Hallmarked Sterling Silver is an Alloy of pure silver that contains 92.5% Silver and 7.5% other metals. Pure silver is not practical as it is too soft to make objects out of if they are to be used. 925 is a mark used to indicate Sterling Silver, although in the UK, a full set of hallmarks is required. In order for an item to be able to be sold as Sterling Silver this standard has to be adhered to.

Britannia Silver

This Silver is 950 standard i.e. 95% silver. It is a legitimate alternative standard of silver and it is less common than Sterling Silver, and is shown with a different hallmark.

Silver Plate

Objects that are silver plated are objects made out of a conductive metal that are electroplated with layers of silver. This is usually a more affordable alternative to solid or sterling silver.

Old Sheffield Plate

Sheffield Plate was the process used to plate objects with silver before the process of electroplating was invented. It is a process whereby silver sheets were used to cover a copper base to make Silver Plated objects such as coffee pots, wine coasters and mugs. Old Sheffield Plate is considered very collectable as the process was only used for a relatively short period of time.

British Hallmarks

British Sterling Silver can be identified as such by the unique Hallmarks that they have. Each object will show specific hallmarks which indicate that the item is sterling silver but also imparts certain information about the object in question.

The Standard Mark: British Silver has a Lion as a standard mark – indicating the Sterling Silver Standard is met. (Britannia Silver is shown with the figure of Britannia).

The Office Mark: This mark show where the item has been Assayed – the most common marks are a Leopards Head for London, an Anchor for Birmingham and a Rose or a Crown for Sheffield. (Other Offices of Assay include Edinburgh, Chester, Dublin and Newcastle etc)

The Date Letter: Indicates the date which the item was assayed. These are letters of the Alphabet, usually in different fonts, styles and borders.

The Makers Mark: Indicates the maker of the item

The Duty Mark: Some periods of Silver production were indicated with a duty mark featuring a silhouette of the monarch of the day.

Imported & Foreign Silver

When purchasing silver it is good to note that wonderful silver objects were (and are) produced all around the world. Different countries have different ways of marking their silver, and usually it is not quite as clear as British hallmarking.

Some foreign silver is imported and assayed in England. These items feature an English Hallmark with a Capital F in an oval.

Continental, American and Russian Silver are all collected and feature unique qualities of their own.

Cleaning Silver

This is a question often asked here at John Bull. We have a range of silver cleaning products, but if you are unsure don’t hesitate to get hold of us and we will do our best to advise you.

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