Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Specialising in Silver

Silver is a beautiful metal whose use is literally as old as the hills. Silver metalworkers developed superb levels of craftsmanship over the centuries and this ongoing skill and sophistication amongst silversmiths continues to this day. 

The collector has a wide choice and can specialise by type as well as in terms of age and history. Silver from the early Georgian or even earlier periods is quite rare and therefore rather expensive.   The later Georgian period is more affordable, as are the ornate and profuse Victorian wares.   Always popular is silver from Arts and Crafts, Art Nouveau, and Art Deco periods.
Silver Tea Caddy

Serving Dish

The collector of British silver has the advantage of the hallmarking system where an independent assay office stamps the maker’s mark, quality, and date on each piece of silver.  People do also like to collect the discontinued assay offices such as Chester and Exeter.   An amateur can appear to have a little knowledge by glancing at the hallmarking guides which really does fit into a pocket when going to the antique fairs.  

When investing in silver another advantage is that it is a precious metal with its own value, without considering any value in the workmanship or rarity. This can turn into a curse - when the 'scrap' price was over £20 per ounce in 2011 many potential collectable items must have been smelted down, a very sad occurrence.

Friday, 16 January 2015

The Beauty of Wood

One of the things I enjoy most about antiques is seeing all the lovely woods used to make the pieces of furniture. Instead of a thin veneer of top of MDF, you get all the warmth and beauty of Oak, Walnut, Flame Mahogany, Satinwood, Coromandel, and many others. These woods have their own unique characteristics, and no two pieces of furniture will be exactly the same, even though made of the same type of wood, as each grain pattern is unique. On top of using different woods, the designer can chose carving or inlay to further enhance the wood.

Here are some of my favourites, either that are in the shop now, or that have passed through recently.
Walnut and Brass Box

Coromandel Box

Flame Mahogany Chest of Drawers

Satinwood Chest of Drawers

And then the wood can be embellished:-

Stunning Inlaid Corner Cupboard

Panelled Oak Chest

This is my absolute favourite, an ebonised and fretwork nursing chair, the photograph does not do it justice.