Peculiar markings on 925 icon

PHOTOS REQUIRED - marks + item
AllSeasons
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Peculiar markings on 925 icon

Postby AllSeasons » Sat Jan 15, 2022 8:38 pm

So I recently purchased an icon online, which came today. On the front, it is marked "Guerrini" as the maker, "925" as the purity, and star, 24 (?), and AN, in another stamp. So far so good. Based on the info from this site, the star indicates the Italian national mark; the 24 (?) indicates the registered number for the maker; and AN indicates the province (Ancona). By the way, is anyone familiar with Guerrini? Couldn't really find much info on this maker online.

On the back of the wooden frame, it is marked CAO, another image, and 925 again. My understanding is that CAO stands for the Cyprus Assay Office, and the image is the Cypriot national mark. So therein lies the question: Why does this piece have different national markings on it? Perhaps someone from Cyprus bought the icon in Italy (maybe Loreto), brought it back, and had someone in Cyprus frame it? I appreciate the reaffirmation of the silver content by both sets of marks, but this just seems a little strange to me. And yes, I bought it in the US, so this piece has definitely been around.

On top of that, the icon seems to be plated with something that appears to be chipping away at the edges. There're two levels of silver hues on the surface, with one a little darker than the other. Given the markings, I assume it to be maybe rhodium plating to prevent against tarnish. But in the back of my mind, I'm also questioning whether this could be silver-plated, and marketed as 925 silver.

Peering through the narrow opening between the icon and the frame, which I believe is held together by resin, the icon itself appears to be solid, i.e. not repousse (too thick), but either molded or sculpted. So this is a good chunk of silver, if really sterling. I know we're not supposed to discuss prices on this forum, but I'll just say that what I paid is not commensurate with the silver value (if real). That said, I knew I was taking a risk by purchasing it, but would like some expert opinions on the genuineness and (bi-national) provenance of the piece.

The images are below. Thank you in advance.

Image
Image
Image

AG2012
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Re: Peculiar markings on 925 icon

Postby AG2012 » Sun Jan 16, 2022 5:18 am

Hi,
It was made by Italian manufacturer (see original label on the back of similar icon).
(Cut and engraved by hand).
Italian mark with the star guarantees 925 sterling standard.
You are right about Cyprus assay office mark (import).
Search for pietro guerrini incisore
Regards
Image

AllSeasons
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Re: Peculiar markings on 925 icon

Postby AllSeasons » Sun Jan 16, 2022 5:39 am

Thank you for the reply. In my research since my original post, I also found the following accompanying certificate to a similar piece. It refers to a gentleman by the name of Collezione Guerrini. Perhaps Collezione and Pietro are from the same family? The certificate also refers to a slab made of 92.5% silver and 24K gold. The one I have obviously does not have the gold plating.

Image

AG2012
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Re: Peculiar markings on 925 icon

Postby AG2012 » Sun Jan 16, 2022 6:04 am

Collezione means collection in Italian, not a personal name; meaning Guerrini collection, commercial term used to describe e.g. a particular fashion seasonal collection.
There is full address in your certificate.

oel
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Re: Peculiar markings on 925 icon

Postby oel » Sun Jan 16, 2022 12:00 pm

Hi,
For me, this is the first time I see the Cyprus domestic silver hallmarks used 1995 to date not stamped but printed, on a piece of paper and glued at the back of a wooden framework. If CAO stands for Cyprus Assay Office it is the sponsor's mark. As of 1995, it is the responsibility of the maker or sponsor to register their maker's mark with the Cyprus Assay Office Registry. Each mark is a unique combination of frame-shape and initials or letters that indicate the name of the maker or manufacturer. The National Mark for silver items hallmarked in Cyprus is what is described by the assay office as an archaic fish with stylized water lines in a rectangular frame-shape accompanied by a rectangular fineness mark.
The number K 46811 could be a reference number.

Peter.

Source; World Hallmarks Volume I Europe 19th to 21st Centuries William B. Whetstone, Danusia V. Niklewicz, Lindy L. Matula

AllSeasons
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Re: Peculiar markings on 925 icon

Postby AllSeasons » Sun Jan 16, 2022 9:01 pm

AG2012 wrote:Collezione means collection in Italian, not a personal name; meaning Guerrini collection, commercial term used to describe e.g. a particular fashion seasonal collection.
There is full address in your certificate.


Oops, LOL! Thank you for the clarification. I made a similar mistake in another thread thinking "Fatto A Mano" was the name of the silversmith. Maybe I should learn some Italian!

oel wrote:Hi,
For me, this is the first time I see the Cyprus domestic silver hallmarks used 1995 to date not stamped but printed, on a piece of paper and glued at the back of a wooden framework. If CAO stands for Cyprus Assay Office it is the sponsor's mark. As of 1995, it is the responsibility of the maker or sponsor to register their maker's mark with the Cyprus Assay Office Registry. Each mark is a unique combination of frame-shape and initials or letters that indicate the name of the maker or manufacturer. The National Mark for silver items hallmarked in Cyprus is what is described by the assay office as an archaic fish with stylized water lines in a rectangular frame-shape accompanied by a rectangular fineness mark.
The number K 46811 could be a reference number.

Peter.

Source; World Hallmarks Volume I Europe 19th to 21st Centuries William B. Whetstone, Danusia V. Niklewicz, Lindy L. Matula


Thank you. Does that mean I should be concerned about the authenticity? Also, I'm fighting the impulse of just taking the icon out of the frame, since the icon by itself may actually be worth more than the icon/frame combination, if only for the silver value, not that I would ever melt it down, as that would be kind of sacrilegious, especially if it's a sacramental.

amena
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Re: Peculiar markings on 925 icon

Postby amena » Mon Jan 17, 2022 3:08 am

I advise you to resist "the impulse of just taking the icon out of the frame". It is a very thin silver foil. By separating it you will damage it irreparably.
Best
Amena

AllSeasons
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Re: Peculiar markings on 925 icon

Postby AllSeasons » Mon Jan 17, 2022 3:33 am

amena wrote:I advise you to resist "the impulse of just taking the icon out of the frame". It is a very thin silver foil. By separating it you will damage it irreparably.
Best
Amena


Sorry, I neglected to post an image from the side, which shows that it's not actually a foil, but rather a slab of silver with good thickness. The back of the silver is not repousse, but rather flat. The piece seems to be hand chiseled. I estimate the thickness to be about 1/8 of an inch, on a 9'' by 7'' surface. Here're a couple of images to help illustrate that.

Image
Image

amena
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Re: Peculiar markings on 925 icon

Postby amena » Mon Jan 17, 2022 5:07 am

As can be read in the "Garanzia"
Image
Si certifica che il presente oggetto è realizzato in lastra d'argento.......
We certify that this object is made of silver sheet .......
From my experience I warn you that it is a thin sheet.
But if you can't resist the impulse of just taking the icon out of the frame, go for it.
Best regards
Amena

AllSeasons
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Re: Peculiar markings on 925 icon

Postby AllSeasons » Mon Jan 17, 2022 5:14 am

amena wrote:As can be read in the "Garanzia"
Image
Si certifica che il presente oggetto è realizzato in lastra d'argento.......
We certify that this object is made of silver sheet .......
From my experience I warn you that it is a thin sheet.
But if you can't resist the impulse of just taking the icon out of the frame, go for it.
Best regards
Amena


Sorry, the "Garanzia" is not actually for this particular item. It's one that I found online, in my search for the Guerrini name. Again, sorry for the confusion. But that does give me pause, as I also suspected that this may be silver-plated, due to the price point. But silver-plated items should not have the star, which is the Italian sterling mark, stamped on it, right?

amena
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Re: Peculiar markings on 925 icon

Postby amena » Mon Jan 17, 2022 6:22 am

It is not silverplate, It is an embossed sheet of real sterling silver.
Usually, to give them rigidity they are reinforced with resin.
Sometimes they are silver foil coupled with aluminum foil.

AllSeasons
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Re: Peculiar markings on 925 icon

Postby AllSeasons » Mon Jan 17, 2022 6:29 am

amena wrote:It is not silverplate, It is an embossed sheet of real sterling silver.
Usually, to give them rigidity they are reinforced with resin.
Sometimes they are silver foil coupled with aluminum foil.


OK, so it's basically the equivalent of weighted silver in the US, if that? Well, this is disappointing. I have other jewelry that says "Italy 925" on them. Should I be concerned about those, too? I also have gold jewelry that says "Italy 14K" or "Italy 10K." Now I'm just doubting everything made in Italy. Sigh.

AG2012
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Re: Peculiar markings on 925 icon

Postby AG2012 » Mon Jan 17, 2022 6:51 am

Do not doubt Italian gold and silver without official mark / the star or earlier versions of the mark:
https://www.925-1000.com/Fitalian_marks_01.html
Weighted silver (resin) in this case is acceptable even if the sheet of silver is rather thin. Weighted candlestics are worse example.
Btw. there are another Italian marks for very thin weighted silver and galvanoplasty process.
See here:
http://www.silvercollection.it/italianhallmarks.html


Sometimes they simply mark gold with e.g. 750 Italy and that is good enough.
Italy is a serious country; I am more suspicious with gold made in Middle East.
Regards

Qrt.S
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Re: Peculiar markings on 925 icon

Postby Qrt.S » Mon Jan 17, 2022 7:06 am

Mind my interfering in this conversation, but I agree with Amena! The original riza on an genuine icon is a very thin silver (sometimes even gold) "cover" in order to protect the painting under it. ON cheap icons the riza is brass sometimes plated with silver. Please keep in mind that in the orthodox religion, it is very common to often touch and kiss the icon both at home and in the church. What do you think that would happen to the painting after e.g 10.000 kisses and touches or more? That is the original reason why the icon got its riza!

Yeah, yeah, I have heard this warning very often, "Don't remove the riza, heaven will fall in you head!!!!" The reason why this warning is given is that sometimes there is no painting behind the riza. The only visible parts are the face(s) and the hands in the holes of the riza and that is all! Sometimes the picture is not a painting at all but a print, I've seen those sold to tourists in St. Petersburg!
Anyway, nothing prohibits you from carefully removing the riza, but you might face a surprise....there is as said possibly no painting under it. Believe me, I have seen it as said and not only once! Such icons are meant to be sold to "unknowing" buyers/tourists. I have seen that too during my many visits to St. Peterburg.

Moreover, in another thread I recently wrote that an icon is a sacred object not meant for sale. In other words unless you aren't orthodox, what would you do with it??? Don't tell me that it is a piece of art. Actually it sometimes is, but still a religious object and as said, not meant for sale! My advice to all of all of you is that forget the icon business totally. If you're not an expert you might make a big mistake by buying an icon!

The icon showed in this thread is a typical "tourist junk" icon, the outlook, the strange marks and not even particularly well done either, etc. etc. Yeah! Garantia! I guarantee that what I wrote above is the whole truth and nothing but the truth! Hang it on your wall!

amena
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Re: Peculiar markings on 925 icon

Postby amena » Mon Jan 17, 2022 8:01 am

The mark to which Ag 2012 refers (R inside a square) came into force in 1999, long after the company Grazioli Emilio in Loreto (24 AN) had closed.

AG2012
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Re: Peculiar markings on 925 icon

Postby AG2012 » Mon Jan 17, 2022 10:02 am

What`s the connection between Grazioli Emilio and Guerrini Pietro ?
The latter has been discussed; the same reg. number? Too much attention given to a souvenir item, though.
Nothing better to do under the circumstances, right?

amena
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Re: Peculiar markings on 925 icon

Postby amena » Mon Jan 17, 2022 11:28 am

The mark that quotes Allseasons: 24 AN, corresponds to Grazioli Emilio, from Loreto.
Guerrini S.p.a., also from Loreto, is not registered among the assignees of precious metal marks. Presumably it is the company that designs and markets the product.
As perhaps not everyone knows, Loreto is one of the most popular pilgrimage destinations in the Catholic world.
Many pilgrims, many souvenir items.

AllSeasons
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Re: Peculiar markings on 925 icon

Postby AllSeasons » Mon Jan 17, 2022 4:55 pm

Just to close the loop, I reached out to the seller armed with this information, and they issued me a full refund. Thank you, all!!


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