Should I Restore My Silver?

There has been a long standing debate on whether or not an individual should have an antique silver item restored and re-silvered. For the final word on the subject, we turn to a quote from renowned American silver expert Dorothy Rainwater's book, American Silver plate, "A few dealers and collectors have been heard to remark that they would not have old silver plated pieces re-plated because it would destroy their value as antiques. This is utter nonsense…Silver plating old electro-silver plate is simply to restore it to its original condition." Leaving a potentially valuable item broken, dented, corroded or dull will never add value to the item; in fact most items in poor condition will not appraise at high values. Hiding something that was once beautiful in a closet due to its condition does not do it justice; in fact it could slowly damage it. In terms of Electroplated antique silver, there should always be a complete layer of silver plating on an item in order to protect the item's base metal.

The vast majority of these items had pewter or Britannia elements that will accumulate a black scale that etches the surface of metal. This process must be stopped chemically in order to avoid severe pitting, and a new coat of protective silver plate applied.

Zapffe Silversmiths of Seattle has been has been a shining Northwest tradition since 1919. Our three expert silversmiths have accumulated nearly 100 years of silversmithing experience between them, working on jobs ranging from basic hinge repair, up to full restoration of silver collections in Governor's Mansions, the Navy's USS Constellation, and St. James Cathedral. Our commitment to excellence and craftsmanship has kept our client base returning for generations.

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