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Article: Silversmith


History of Silversmithing

  • In ancient times, silversmiths produced objects and stored them as stock due to the lower value of silver compared to gold.
  • Silversmith guilds formed in the ancient Near East to arbitrate disputes, protect members' welfare, and educate the public.
  • Medieval Europe and England saw the formation of silversmith guilds that transmitted tools and techniques through the apprentice tradition.
  • Artisans emigrated to America in the 17th century, leading to fewer restrictions and the growth of silverworking as a trade.
  • The British rule in Madras (now Chennai) during 1875 saw the emergence of exquisite silverware, including Swami Silver.

Techniques of Silversmithing

  • Silversmiths saw or cut specific shapes from sterling and fine silver sheet metal and bar stock.
  • Hammers are used to form the metal over anvils and stakes, with silver being hammered cold.
  • Work-hardened silver needs to be annealed periodically to prevent cracking and weakening.
  • Casting techniques are used to create knobs, handles, and feet for hollowware.
  • Assembling the various pieces is done through soldering and riveting.

Tools and Materials used in Silversmithing

  • Silversmiths historically used charcoal or coke fired forges and lung-powered blow-pipes for soldering and annealing.
  • Modern silversmiths commonly use gas burning torches as heat sources.
  • Laser beam welding is a newer method employed by silversmiths.
  • Silversmiths may also work with copper and brass, especially for practice pieces.
  • Copper and brass have similar working properties and are more affordable than silver.

Notable Silversmith Companies

  • Garrard & Co, founded in London in 1722, is still operating today.
  • Hersey & Son is a notable silversmith company.
  • Phipps & Robinson is another well-known silversmith company.
  • Reid & Sons, founded in 1788 in Newcastle, is still operating.

Notable Silversmiths

  • Hester Bateman is a notable historical silversmith.
  • Zahroun Amara is a renowned Mandaean niello silversmith.
  • Various references to Zahroun Amara, a renowned Mandaean niello silversmith.

Silversmith Data Sources

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