The historical challenge of working with silver in Japan has always been the precious metal’s scarcity. In ancient times, silver was extracted from local lead, a wasteful and toxic undertaking. More recently, in the past 250 or so years, Japanese metalsmiths devised ways to squeeze silver from copper ore.

Perhaps because of its rareness, silver is used sparingly in Japan. For example, it is often threaded between fields of enamel in cloisonné, or used to make small, personal accessories. Unlike Chinese silver pieces of the last several hundred years, Japanese decorative objects made of silver tend to cater less to Western tastes. And, ironically, Japanese alloys generally have higher silver contents than those produced in China.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Asian Art Museum

Asian Art Museum

You can get happily lost searching through the 10,000 or so objects on the Asian Art Museum's website. For example,… [read review or visit site]

Chicago Silver

Chicago Silver

Paul Somerson's incredible reference on handwrought metalwork from the American Arts and Crafts movement of the ear… [read review or visit site]

Gotheborg.com

Gotheborg.com

Jan-Erik Nilsson's extensive reference on antique Chinese porcelain. Jam-packed with information (e.g. on porcelain… [read review or visit site]

Silver Marks Encyclopedia

Silver Marks Encyclopedia

An extensive reference guide to silver marks, hallmarks, trademarks and maker's marks found on antique and vintage … [read review or visit site]

Silver at the Victoria and Albert

Silver at the Victoria and Albert

This is a great reference site on silver, courtesy of the Victoria and Albert Museum. You can view silver items acc… [read review or visit site]

The Gilbert Collection

The Gilbert Collection

The late Sir Arthur Gilbert's collection of European silver, gold, enamel, and other items is now housed at the Vic… [read review or visit site]

Delight in Design: Indian Silver for the Raj

Delight in Design: Indian Silver for the Raj

“Delight in Design: Indian Silver for the Raj” was the title of a 2008 exhibition at Columbia University’s Mi… [read review or visit site]

TheStieffCompany.com

TheStieffCompany.com

Scott Perkins is an enthusiastic evangelist for The Stieff Company, a significant Baltimore silversmith and maker o… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Discussion Forums

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Lrg Antique Japanese Gold & Silver Gilt Lacquer Pedestal Stand Table For StatueAntique Japanese Hammered 3pc Sterling Silver Tea Set, Bachelor, Whiting, 20ozSuperbc1920 Japanese Sterling Silver Geisha Girl Figural Tea Caddy Serving SpoonLoaded Vintage Sterling Silver Chinese Japanese Asian Themed Charm BraceletFinest Engraved Japanese Sterling Silver Compact Powder & Cigarette Case Set BoxExquisite Engraved Rare Vintage Japanese Sterling Silver Chopsticks W Box JapanSigned Japanese Sterling Silver Inlaid Gold Bird-on Prunus Card//cigarette CaseExtremely Rare Japanese Sterling Silver 950 Enamel Miniature Perfume BottleJapanese/ Korean Etched Sterling Silver Teapot And Cups, Signed/ Hallmark/junginAntique Signed Japanese Sterling Silver Sake Wine Ewer Pitcher Decanter JapanPair Vintage Japanese Solid Sterling Silver Nesting Bowls Or Sake Cups JapanFinest Japanese Sterling Silver Figural Swan Open Salt Cellar Bowl/dish Spoon2p Finest Japanese Solid Sterling Silver Cordials Wine Cup Goblets 58 Gr 2.05 Oz*1344 Japanese Antique Tsuba Sword Guard Samurai Tsuba Silver Ring "pine Tree" Rare Japanese Sterling Silver Chagama Tea KettleJump Wing Wings Paratrooper 11th Airborne Japanese Marked On Reverse "silver" Antique Chinese Or Japanese Enamel 950 Silver 2 Tea Cups And Saucers HallmarkedGorham Sterling Silver Table Bell Japanese Hand Hammered5p Finest Antique 1920's Japanese Arts & Crafts Sterling Silver Sake Tea Cup SetFinest Antique Signed Japanese Sterling Silver Bonsai Tree Mitsunori Japan W BoxJapanese Vintage Copper Silver Plated Tea Kettle Tea Pot/kyusu Finest Antique Japanese Sterling Silver Ebisu God Of Fortune Patron Of LaborersJapanese Antique Vintage Pure Silver Sake Cup Two Pieces Sakazuki, #63g 2 Fine Antique Chinese Or Japanese Solid Silver Repousse Cranes Birds Scene VaseBlack Silver Arena Japanese Swimsuit X-flat? Swimming Costume Medium 34" Uk 10 Finest Masterly Engraved Vintage Signed Japanese Solid Sterling Silver Fan JapanVintage Japanese 950 Sterling Silver Lipstick Case Geisha FiguralAntique Japanese Katana Sword Furniture ~ Iron Tsuba Guard W Gold Silver Copper Jump Wing Wings Paratrooper 11th Airborne Japanese Marked On Reverse "silver" Japanese Sterling Silver Bowls Casters Flower & Leaf Pair Signed Japanese One Yen Chopmarked Silver Trade Dollar - About Two Dozen Chinese ChopsAntique Chinese/japanese Faux Tortoise Shell- Silver Inlaid Dragon Pill/snuf BoxJump Wing Wings Paratrooper 11th Airborne Japanese Marked On Reverse "silver" Antique Japanese Sterling Silver Floral Decorated Preserve Or Jam Spoon C 1930's6 Antique Japanese Sterling Silver Novelty Handle Cocktail Spoons Circa 1930'sTop Gem 2.50ctw Japanese Black Opal+white Sapphire Sterling Silver Earrings 3.7g"sterling Silver Onlaid Japanese Fujiyama Ladies Compact" Circa 1900 BoxedVintage Japanese Glass Commemorative Sake Cup Japan Vtg Ww2 Antique Pure SilverJapanese Koro (incense Burner) W/silver Lid Of Oldest Karatsu :edo: 1.6 × 1.8 "$325 Seiko Men's Srn055 Analog Display Japanese Quartz Silver WatchVintage Japanese Silver Thimble5 Japanese Chokin Silver Gold Gilt Landscape Bamboo Dinner Place Card Holders NrPure Silver. Takasago. Old Couple. Japanese Antique. A Work Of Takehiko.3 Exquisite Rare Japanese Sterling Silver Figural Crane Turtle Hor D'oeuvr PicksAmazing Old Chinese / Japanese Sterling Silver? Belt Buckles Gold Overlay NrArtist Signed Nojima Antique Japanese Pure Silver Hallmarked Tobacco Pipe KiseruJapanese Brass Tea Caddy Chaire W/sign/ Ibushi-gin/ Silver-style/ 6721Japanese Brass Tea Spoon Sago W/sign/ Ibushi-gin/ Silver-style/ 6736Pulsar Men's Pt3399 Analog Display Japanese Quartz Silver Chronograph WatchLarge Vtg Japanese Akoya Cultured Pearl Sterling Silver Cluster Earrings JapanA God Of Wealth Of The Silver. One Of Japanese Seven Lucky Gods. Vintage Japanese Hand Tooled Brass/copper/silver Chado Hibashi Fire ChopsticksA God Of Ebisu (mythology) Of The Silver. One Of Japanese Seven Lucky Gods. Masterly Hand Crafted Japanese Sterling Silver 960 Model Yacht By Seki Japan NrA1307: Japanese Oxidized Silver/ibushigin Finish Hammer Teapot Kyusu Kaishin-doVintage Japanese 950 Sterling Silver Figural (950) Kokeshi Doll Salt & PepperJapanese Antique Meiji Era Kanzashi Hairpiece Silver Butterfly Cherry BlossomPokemon Card Promo 101/xy-p Shiny Silver Metagross Ex Holo JapaneseVictorian Antique Japanese Shakudo 14k Gold & Silver Mixed Metal CufflinkJapanese Brass Kensui W/sign; Silver-style/ Ibushi-gin/ 6723