Silver Glossary

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Postby dognose » Wed Dec 05, 2007 2:48 pm

Hi Tom,

A few more possibilities,

Pickle: A term given to an acid solution diluted with water. Used for removing oxcide from gold after annealing and for removing borax from items after soldering. The pickle is first heated and then the items immersed for a short period, then rinsed and dried. There are three sorts, Nitric acid pickle, Sulphuric acid pickle and the strongest Hydrochloric acid pickle.

Chenier: The tubular silver used in the making of hinges.

Damascene: The process of applying silver or gold onto a base metal, often seen on firearms and sword hilts. This art takes its name from the city of Damascus where the finest work was once performed.

Draw Plate: Flat plate of steel with rows of various sized holes for drawing silver and gold wires.

Fibula: A brooch or clasp to hold a cloak on the right shoulder.

Cylix: Wide flat wine bowl with handles and a central foot.

Hatching: Engraving term for a series of lines applied closely together.

Cross-Hatching: Engraving term for crossing lines either straight or diagonal.

Cyathus: Single handled drinking cup with a central foot.

Floreated: Decorated with floral ornament.

Foliated: Decorated with the leaves of trees and plants.

Beaker: Drinking cup without a foot.

Bodkin: Type of hairpin for fastening the hair into a knot.

Andiron: Supports for log burning, known to have been made in silver, also called Fire-Dogs.

Latten: Metal alloy similar to brass.

St. Dunstan: The patron saint of Goldsmiths, a former Abbot of Glastonbury, he was Archbishop of Canterbury when he died in 988. He was said to be a fine goldsmith, making his own chalices etc.
St. Dunstan's day, 19th May is an important date in the Goldsmiths Company's calender, it was the day when the new Wardens were installed, followed by a service at St. Paul's Cathedral and then a feast in Goldsmiths Hall. From 1478 it was also the day that the Date Letter changed, although it now changes on the 1st of Janurary.

Burin: Alternative name for a graver.

Hilt: The handle of a sword.

Latticed: Series of diagonal crossbars.

Cantharus: Drinking cup with handles, often as depicted as being used by Bacchus.

Carchesium: Drinking cup with a shallow foot and wider than it is deep and with handles higher than the edge, said to be one of the oldest forms of goblets.

Holcion: Drinking cup similar to a cantharus, but without the handles.

Obba: Drinking vessel similar to a cantharus, but without a foot so that it could not be set down, in use like a stirrup cup.

Burnisher: Engravers tool for softening harsh lines made by the graver.


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Postby dognose » Sat Dec 08, 2007 1:18 pm

Pheon: Heraldic term for a broard arrow head.

Pinchbeck: An alloy of copper and zinc.

Tazza: Shallow dish on a central foot.

Pounced: Decorated surface made by making a series of dots.

Sand-bag: Leather sand filled cushion used by silversmiths to prop up their work at the correct angle.

Scauper: Engravers tool similar to a chisel.

Tint-tool: A type of graver.

Torque: Ancient neck collar of thick gold wires twisted together.

Orb: A globe surmounted by a cross.

Bodkin (2): Blunt needle for threading ribbon.

Triptych: Picture frame with two hanging doors that close at the front, sometimes found in silver.

Wavy-end spoon: Alternative name for a dognose spoon.


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Postby dognose » Tue Dec 11, 2007 3:37 pm

Haft: Knife or fork handle.

Tang: The end of a knife blade that is inserted into the haft.

Bolster: The raised junction of the knife blade and tang.

Nimbus: The disc representing a halo on apostle spoons.

Buffet: The formal display of a person's silver, usually on a dresser or sideboard. This was how a person's wealth and standing was measured in the 15th and 16th Century.

Chamber Candlestick: A portable candlestick, incorporating a drip tray and ring handle and sometimes a snuffer.

Ecuelle: French two-handled soup bowl with a cover.

Freedom Box: Silver box made to contain a document confering the Freedom of a town or city to a notable person.

Loading: A term used for a method of weighting and strengthing thin silver items such as candlesticks and knife hafts.

Impaling: Heraldic term for the joining of two coats of arms usually by marriage.

Sconce: Wall mounted candlestick with a reflective back plate.

Scratch Weight: The weight of an article when it originally left it's maker, it was often scratched onto the base of an item.


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Postby byron mac donald » Wed Dec 12, 2007 1:17 am

This is great, I don't Merriam-Webster has ever had so much competition. This is the most complete site I have ever seen.

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Postby dognose » Mon Jan 07, 2008 12:46 pm

Hi Tom,


Menorah: Candelabrum, seven branched as symbol of Judaism, eight branched for use during Chanukah or Hanukah (Festival of Lights).

Seder Plate: Dish used to hold the ceremonious food of the Seder (Passover).

Chanukah Lamp: An eight branched menorah with a Shamash (Master Light).

Shofar: Rams horn often with applied silver, sometimes all silver, sounded at Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) and Yom Kippur (Day Of Atonement).

Eliyahu Cup: Cup used at the Seder (Passover) table.

Torah Yad: Part of the Torah (The five books of Moses from the bible) is read at each Shabbat (Sabbath), it is forbidden to touch the parchment of the Torah scrolls with your finger, so a pointer, a Torah Yad is used so that the reader can keep his place.

Spice Box or Bessamim Spice Tower: Used at Havdalah (End of the sabbath ceremony), they contain sweet smelling spices and are often decorated with fish, grapes or flowers.

Kiddush Cup: At the start of the Shabbat, a prayer is said by the head of the family, over a Kiddush (Sanctification) cup of wine , when the blessing is over, everyone drinks from the cup.

Mezuzah: Small case attached to the right-hand side of the door frame of Jewish buildings. It contains part of the Shema, a prayer written on the skin of a Kosher killed animal. The Shema is recited every morning and evening.

Challah Tray: A dish for serving egg bread at the Shabbat dinner.

Dreidal: A silver spinning top, played with by children during Chanukah. It contains the initials of the Hebrew sentence NES GADOL HAYAH PO (A Great Miracle Happened There).

Etrog Box: Box containing fruit used during Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) services, the fruit is said to represent the forbidden fruit of the Garden of Eden.


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Postby dognose » Sun Feb 10, 2008 12:02 pm

Hi Tom,

Another set of possibilities,


Guinea Gold: Gilding metal similar to pinchbeck, copper based with 12-15% zinc.

Manila Gold: Gilding metal, copper based with 12% zinc and 2% lead.

Mannheim Gold: Gilding metal, copper based with 10% zinc and 1% tin.

Nu-Gold: Gilding metal, copper based with 12% zinc.

Nuremberg Gold: Copper based with 7.5% aluminium and 2.5% gold.

Pinchbeck: Copper based, 6-15% zinc.


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Postby admin » Mon Feb 25, 2008 5:32 pm

Thanks Trev, for all of your effort in expanding the glossary, it's been quite awhile since I've had a chance to work on it, but as of today a good three quarters of your last submissions have been added. Hope to get the rest up shortly.

Cheryl also kindly sent in a good def for "Coin Silver" to replace the old, and rather weak, version.

Should anyone else like to add or expand a definition, please post it here or send it by private message.

Regards, Tom

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Re: Silver Glossary

Postby oel » Mon Nov 20, 2017 9:45 am

Hi Tom,

Perhaps we should add Argentium to the Illustrated Silver Glossary:
Argentium silver 935 is a modern sterling silver alloy, containing 93.5% silver. The traditional sterling alloy (92.5% silver + 7.5% copper) is modified by removing some of the copper and adding the metalloid germanium.

Argentium silver 960 is a higher-purity jewellery alloy also containing germanium. It meets the standard for Britannia silver (95.84% silver) hallmarking.



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