Artsy & Marks

Among the many other things I have going on I’ve decided to add something else. Yes. I’m going to make a chinoiserie mirror.

It’s (wood frame) already painted shades of peach. The previous owner of our house seemed to love that color and likely thought it was period appropriate. I’m just going to add blue and white acrylic inspired by a set of (English) Flow Blue Kyber (from the 1890’s) I bought years ago. I love the pattern.

Just in case you’re curious here is a general overview of Kyber by Adams and Flow Blue, a type of “blue and white”: Flow Blue

(a few more from my Kyber set that I have displayed with vintage/antique silver, vintage Wedgewood Jasperware, an antique/vintage Japanese relief, a Dutch salt shaker in classic delft blue (from a set from a cousin that she bought in The Netherlands for our wedding), an antique mini stagecoach, a 1980’s mini tea set, a conch shell and a few pieces of vintage/antique Limoges. (I say vintage/antique when I’m not sure if it’s from the 1910’s or 20’s or a bit before even)

AND, without ado here’s a little of what I know about silver markings:

(Mid-Century plated silver five piece tea and coffee set with handled tray at my house)

FIRST, if it’s not marked sterling silver it most likely isn’t sterling silver. And of course to qualify as fine silver (what some people consider “real silver) it has to be at least 92.5% silver (in ratio to other metal). Sterling silver marked .925 (as it often is) means that it has that ratio of silver. Although, there are other silver markings that are more or less percent silver of course, and actually one of the benefits of there being less silver is that it tends to be harder. The higher the actual silver content the softer an item will generally be.

And on that note, plated silver should be marked as such, but it isn’t always marked. Sometimes one just has to assume it’s plated. Although, often a plated silver manufacturer will be marked on plated silver. In the US there are many storied companies with histories dating back to the 1800’s.

A late 1800’s/early 1900’s plated silver cruet set (antique) and vintage plated silver tray.

At the top is a plated silver butter dish from the late 1800’s given to a couple for their wedding. And at bottom are an antique plated silver pie server, vintage set of eight cut glass and plated silver individual salt and pepper shakers, and another antique butter dish. The rest of the items are jadeite, antique English transferware, an Art Deco cut glass candle holder which is part of a set, and a few pieces of my 1940’s J & G Meakin (English) floral set.

I have two excellent (vintage) books that detail the history of plated silver. If you’re interested enough I’d recommend them: Encyclopedia of American Silver Manufacturers and American Silverplate.

(one of my favorite silver polishes in my kitchen)

But suffice to say, many people consider plated silver to be an elegant form of silver despite the fact that it’s not quite as prestigious or expensive. Why, the couple who were given the butter dish above on their wedding day likely cherished that piece. It was even handed down through the generations and displayed prominently and proudly in houses that would impress quite a few folks (in Mid-Western homes around 1 million or a bit more).

HOWEVER, sterling silver really is more grand… For example my plated silver sets (I have three) go for about $200.00 to $1,000.00 whereas, if they were sterling silver they would be priced at $10,000.00 or more (up to $60,000.00)! Even though plated silver can still be truly vintage or antique silver and it’s very lovely, sterling silver really is just that fabulous.

Here’s a Victorian sterling silver set that’s being sold for about $48,000.00:

More on this later…