Antique Sterling Silver from Nelson and Nelson Antiques

Nelson & Nelson Antiques

The Timeless Appeal of Antique Silver

November 27, 2018 5:31 pm

antique silverThe appeal of antique silver is virtually irresistible. From smaller, handheld items such as flatware, snuff boxes, picture frames and salt and pepper sets to larger items such as punch bowls and a complete silver tea set with tray, antique silver pieces truly “reflect” the era in which they were created.

Since silver is actually very shiny, this observation is actually true on the literal level as well as the cultural level. When polished, silver offers a reflection that is nearly 100%. Of what the eye is able to discern in the light spectrum, silver reflects 95%. Tiffany silver is one of the most renowned names for silver and began making silver in 1837. The crafters of Tiffany’s won the bronze medal for excellence at the 1867 Paris exhibition. 

In its original state, silver is a rather soft metal and not extremely durable. So for use in the jewelry industry, for example, as well for other uses, it is usually mixed with copper to make it stronger. The alloy, or mixture, that this creates is called sterling silver. 

Most of the silver items we see today are sterling silver. This would include a sterling trophy, a sterling vase, a sterling silver baby cup and of course, sterling silver jewelry. Speaking of jewelry, it is interesting to note here that alloys of gold and silver are most frequently utilized in the creation of pieces of jewelry. 

Antique silver trays, as well as other items of tableware (but not including flatware), are also known as holloware. These pieces, which often were created in sets, are known for their intricate designs and breathtaking details. To find out where to sell silver, it would be advisable to consult a reputable antique house and discuss the items with them for assessment and pricing. 

Today, there is a huge market for sterling silver items. In addition to rings, necklaces, earrings, bracelets, lockets and other types of jewelry, other items are also very popular. These include flatware, picture frames, candlesticks, watches, holiday ornaments, brush and comb sets, and engravable baby cups and rattles. 

So, to sum up, sterling silver is an alloy that is used mostly in jewelry and other pieces, and sterling silver items are very popular today. Antique silver pieces are a reflection of a historical era, crafted by highly skilled artisans and are greatly treasured for their vintage charm and craftsmanship. But most of all, both sterling and antique silver pieces carry much sentimental value, as they are artifacts that convey the spirit of human creativity as well as the legacy of time. 

What You Should Know Before You Sell Silver

October 22, 2018 8:38 am

sell silverFind a box of antiques sitting in storage in the garage or attic, but not sure what to do with them? If any of them have silver in them, you're in luck; those antiques you had forgotten about could be worth a great deal of money. But are they really valuable, or are they a pile of scrap metal? Here's a bit of information about antiques that you should know before you sell silver.


Antique Silver vs. Modern Silver

The value of your silver can depend on its age. Antique silver may be more or less valuable than modern silver depending on its quality, upkeep, and what sort of silver item it is. Antique silver with historical value, such as a pure silver tea set from centuries ago, is going to be more valuable than just your run of the mill modern silver necklace.


Quality of Silver

The main thing that's going to determine the value of your silver is the purity and quality of it. Pure silver is going to, on most occasions, be more valuable than sterling silver. This is because sterling silver isn't actually 100% silver. Pure silver is too soft for products like jewelry and tableware, so these items are usually made of an alloy of 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper called sterling silver. Certain places won't buy sterling silver; this is because the silver these buyers are looking for is going to be melted down and used again. Many antiques specialists, however, do buy sterling silver. Look for a hallmark on your silver; many sterling silver items are marked with the number "925."


Where To Sell Silver

If you want to sell silver, do your homework to determine who's going to give you the best price for it. Not everyone values all silver items the same since many people will look to buy silver scrap and disregard the item's value as an antique. If you're selling antique silver, look to bring it to your local antique experts, like the experts of Nelson and Nelson Antiques. This way, the historical value is not overlooked, and you can be sure your antiques will be well treated.

Why Collect Antique Jewelry?

October 17, 2018 8:40 am

buy antique jewelryMany people collect antique silver candlesticks or other pieces because of their classic aesthetic and their value. You may not know it, but silver and gold are downright celestial. In fact, these elements form when stars -- which are about 10 times the size of our own sun -- explode and form supernovae. It's no wonder that many of us want a little bit of stardust for ourselves. And in some cases, you can actually wear it. That's just one of the reasons why you may choose to buy antique jewelry from silver dealers or an antique shop. But it's certainly not the only good reason to invest in an antique jewelry collection, as you'll see below.

Why Buy Antique Jewelry?

  • You'll invest in something functional, valuable, and fashionable: When you go to your local antique silver buyers, you'll probably find sterling trays or a picture frame made of sterling silver. While these items retain their value and can look beautiful even in contemporary homes, they aren't necessarily that useful on a daily basis. They may act as a nice display piece, but they might only come out for special occasions or may end up gathering dust in a corner. In contrast, antique jewelry can be worn and loved. Although there may be times you'll want to keep these pieces tucked away for safekeeping, they're meant to be used and admired. And because they're totally timeless, they can fit in with any clothing aesthetic and can be enjoyed for generations.

  • You'll have something to pass down: If your family doesn't have its own set of heirlooms, an antique jewelry collection can serve as an entity that can pass on your legacy. These pieces may not be original to your ancestors, but they can easily become part of your family's heritage in the future. These antique jewelry pieces each have their own story (that's what's so fascinating about collecting vintage items!). When you buy antique jewelry and pass it down to future generations, you're able to add your own story into those precious stones and metals. And when one of your relatives puts on that piece years down the line, they'll think of you and the joy you brought to their lives.

  • You'll become a style resource: When you buy or sell antique jewelry, you'll end up learning a lot about fashion history. Chances are that if you're drawn to antique accessories, that's an idea that's already of interest to you. In order to make good purchasing decisions, you'll essentially have to have a good working knowledge of value and of style. That can come in handy when someone in town needs a period-specific piece of jewelry. Whether you choose to rent out parts of your collection or can simply provide valuable information for those in search of historical accuracy, you'll soon become an excellent resource in your community.

  • Your collection will be built to last: You've probably heard the saying, "they don't make them like they used to." If you know anything about antiques, you'll likely understand how true this is. While many modern articles of clothing, accessories, and jewelry come apart easily, vintage items were built to last. So when you buy antique jewelry or other items, you'll have peace of mind that your investment is incredibly sound -- even if the items are from decades or centuries ago. The quality of antique jewelry simply cannot be rivaled by the reproductions of today; when you buy the real thing, you'll be getting what you pay for.


If you're looking to start an antique jewelry collection or simply want to add some sterling silver items to your home decor, we're here to help. For more information, contact us today.

Heirloom Interiors: 3 Tips for Decorating with Antique Silver

September 19, 2018 10:28 am

selling silverMaybe your great grandma gifted you her antique silver tea set, or perhaps you're just interested in collecting and selling silver. Whatever the reason, you’ve now got an interesting collection of vintage metal objects. While old silverware and plates can be irresistible purchases, these beautiful objects can be hard to show off in a modern home. Give your home fresh charm and bring that silver into this century with these four decorating tips:

  1. Don’t Just Store it Away

    Silver and silver alloys are long-enduring metals with current and historic value. In fact, the words for "silver" and "money" have the same meaning in 14 different languages. You may be tempted to protect valuable heirlooms and antiques by putting them in a box or hiding them in the attic. However, not only is this a sad fate for beautiful objects, but improper storage can also damage fine metals. Without regular polishing and care, forgotten silver may begin to tarnish, sometimes beyond repair. Look into silver lacquer and airtight storage options if you do not wish to display objects or if you plan on selling silver at a later date.

  3. Don’t always Be Matchy-Matchy

    These days it seems we are inundated with images of the perfect interior designs-- the internet, TV shows and magazines all seem to display homes with every shape, color, and style carefully coordinated. However, closer inspection reveals that an important secret of good design is to not be overly matchy. Rooms in which every object is nearly identical lose interest and energy. When buying silver antiques, don’t fret if a tea set or candlestick bundle is mismatched. Visual variety can actually help your room achieve an exciting style and can help highlight your unique silver collection. Similarly, when selling silver, don’t think you can’t get a good price for a collection that isn’t perfectly matched.

  5. Go for the Upcycle

    Lifestyles change over time. While in the past, every respectable home had a fine sterling silver tea set, today many people don’t even serve tea. If you’re unsure how to incorporate items that don’t match your needs, think about repurposing. A silver tea tray might make a fun, reflective bit of wall art. A teapot can become a flower vase, and a spoon can be transformed into jewelry. The only limit with silver decorations is the designer’s imagination.


You may be inclined to protect valuables in storage, or you may simply be unsure how to do their quirks justice without overpowering your interior designs. But, through bold experimentation with style and upcycling, you can give your antique sterling silver and your home new life. 

How to Take Care of Antique Silver

September 18, 2018 9:36 am

antique silverSilver mining has existed since 3000 BC, and since then, people have had a love affair with this lustrous metal. Silver heirlooms and antique silver products are delightful to own, wear, and display, and with the right care, they can continue to be a bright spot in your home. Whether you've just purchased sterling candlesticks or inherited antique Chinese silver, here are the steps you can take to keep your silver in impeccable shape. 


In General...

You should keep your antique silver wrapped in cotton, linen, or jewelers cloth. While you do want to keep your silver dusted and polished to avoid tarnish, beware of over-polishing, as this can expose the base metal. You can also consider having your silverware coated with lacquer or micro-crystalline wax to prevent corrosion. 


Silver Sets and Decor

Silver plated tea sets were designed to be used every day, so don't hesitate to bring out your sterling tray and teaspoons. With that said, you'll want to make sure that you take extra care with your antique sterling. Silver should always be washed by hand, never in the dishwasher. Water can also cause spotting and corrosion, so after washing, you should dry immediately with a soft towel. Experts recommend buffing a sterling silver tea set with polish cloths once a week after washing. 


Sterling Silver Jewelry

As with your antique silver dishware, silver jewelry shouldn't go near water or sweat. Be sure you don't wear your Tiffany silver to the gym, the pool, in the shower, or while doing chores. You'll also want to know the fineness of your silver, based on the silver standard. Sterling silver, for example, has a rating of 925 (meaning that it is 92.5% silver) and does not require much maintenance. High quality silver, such as French First Standard or Britannia Silver, are rated 950-958 and require more maintenance. Fine silver, by this standard, is 99.9% silver and is not used in everyday products. 

If you're not sure about the value, history, or care of your antique silver, silver dealers and antique collectors can tell you more about your pieces. Whether you want to display or sell your silver, maintaining the finish and integrity of the piece will help it last through the ages.