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In the English court, New Year’s gifts of silver were customarily exchanged, and silver was of foremost importance for state occasions.At the same time, silver was the preferred material for the wealthiest aristocratic and merchant classes.However, no one alloy has emerged to replace copper as the industry standard, and alloy development is a very active area. Sterling made in the USA after approximately 1850 always has a sterling mark.It may literally have the word STERLING and/or say .925, or show the fraction 925/1000.The movement saw the important role that craft can play in the “humanizing” of society.The workers in this tradition have aspired to lofty goals, taking the silversmith back to role of artisan.It was the beginning of table silver as we know it today.In the 18th century silver more and more became the tangible evidence of wealth, and men and women carried their hard-earned and carefully hoarded coins to the silversmith to be made into usable objects.
It can also be tested with an acid to determine its content. The process of extracting and refining silver dates from the third millennium BC, and the metal was well represented in the wealth of Mesopotamia, Babylon, Egypt, classical Greece and ancient Rome.
At the beginning of the 19th century, silver services were comparatively simple.
However, rising middle and merchant classes on both sides of the Atlantic, as well rich industrialists in the United States, created a great demand for silver objects.
, for example 99.9% pure silver, is generally too soft for producing functional objects; therefore, the silver is usually alloyed with copper to give it strength while preserving the ductility and beauty of the precious metal.
Other metals can replace the copper, usually with the intention of improving various properties of the basic sterling alloy such as reducing casting porosity, eliminating fire scale, and increasing resistance to tarnish.
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These pieces retained their intrinsic value while being used for celebrations, daily routines or mere display.