Our silver glossary below is filled with handy definitions of key terms you might come across in a valuation report.

Information kindly provided in association with Doerr Dallas Valuations.

Ornament or decoration made separately and added on to original item.

Term used to test silver – from the French “to try”. Assayed silver has been tested and determined to be of sterling standard.

An engraving technique used in 18th and early 19th century. A brilliant, faceted effect.

A spoon used for measuring out tea in the form of dried tea leaves.

A candle holder with multiple arms.

Sets of silver cutlery - can be supplied loose, in cutlery rolls or within a fitted box. Full canteen consists of 12 settings including table and dessert forks and spoons and teaspoons, but not always knives. Components can vary according to taste and desires.

A footed cup intended to hold a drink

A holder for one or more candles, smaller than candlesticks and designed to be carried.

A form of decoration where silver is raised and hammered to produce a design in relief.

Process whereby enamel is poured into a design made with applied fields of wirework. From the French for “partition”.

The Sovereign’s head struck on all silverware, (some exclusions for small silver pieces).

Base metal of copper or nickel coated in silver by electrolysis.

Used from the mid-19th century as a method of finely engraving a repetitive design onto silver and gold.

Decorated design on silver, which has been scraped or incised. Nearly always used for coats of arms and armorials.

General term for cutlery, and originated as the pieces were made from one single flat piece of silver.

The thickness of the metal.

Small, stamped symbols on the back or underside of silver items to indicate the purity of the silver, the manufacturer of the piece, and sometimes even the date it was made.

General term for domestic silver, which is not flatware, e.g., bowls, dishes, tea sets, etc.

The mark that denotes that silver is of sterling standard. It is a lion with one paw raised and the others on the ground.

Hollow items of silver/plated ware that have been filled for stability, ie candlesticks.

A method of fusing silver and copper sheets using heat. It should not be confused with electroplating on copper.

Is partially gilded silver, which is employed for decorative effect.

Natural process of oxidation over time resulting in darkening/dulling of the metal.

Silver made and hallmarked by assay offices other than London.

Decoration undertaken to the front of embossed pieces to add detail.

Silver fused/hammered by hand to base metal, often copper, as opposed to the chemical process of electro-plating.

A layer of gold over silver, either for decoration or to avoid silver coming into contact with materials that might cause corrosion, like salt.

A small ornamental box for holding snuff.

The standard of silver in the UK (and the United States). Defined by law as 925 parts of silver per thousand. Britannia standard silver is 958 parts silver per thousand.

Drinkware consisting of a large, roughly cylindrical drinking cup with a single handle.

The measurement by weight for silver and precious metals. A Troy ounce is roughly 10% heavier than an Imperial ounce.

Material believed to have silver content, but not hallmarked or with import marks.