Silver has a long history. It has been mined for over 5,000 years and its attraction has remained since civilisation began. It comes a close second to gold as a precious metal. Silver has been used by the Greeks to mint the drachma, by the Romans to mint the denarius and by the British to mint sterling. It even provided funds for the Athenians to help them defeat the Persians and build the Acropolis, among other monuments. During the medieval period spoons were classed as a personal item and were given at baptism. Many of these spoons were crafted from silver, although it was usually only the wealthy families who gave a silver spoon; hence the saying, “Born with a silver spoon in your mouth”. Your station in life was determined by your spoon.
Silver possesses many great qualities. It is a very reflective material and is also very malleable and ductile, making it easy to shape and mould. It is a good heat conductor, and many early surgical instruments were crafted from silver because bacteria cannot survive on it. All these qualities have made it a favourite metal for craftsmen to work with throughout the centuries.
Silver has always been a part of many of our lives, whether as a photo frame, a cutlery set, a silver teapot or presented as a gift at a special occasion such as a christening, wedding or an anniversary. Today, an area of silverware that is currently popular is that of sterling cocktail items. Items such as cocktail shakers, trays, servers, stirrers, picks and ice buckets are demanding much attention. Wine funnels, labels and goblets are also favoured items.
A silver collection is usually built upon over time. Some people collect by country of origin while others collect by maker, such as the acclaimed Paul Storr. Sometimes it is best to decide upon a style, period or era that you want to collect and then choose what items you want in your collection. Most importantly, it is best to collect items that you like and that appeal to you.