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    

Large Striking Japanese Meiji C1900 Solid Silver Dragon Jewellery BoxFine 19th Century Japanese Bronze Silver & Gilt Decorated Mask Form OjimeFabulous Vintage Chinese Japanese Sterling Embossed Calligraphy Bracelet 53 GrJapanese Antique Vintage Pure Silver Sake Cup Five Pieces Sakazuki, #100g Ww Ii Japanese 1900 Ad D Guard Swords 21 3/4" Cutting Edge Silver MonsFine Quality Japanese Komai Case Meiji Period , Gold&silver. Authentic Komai!Antique Japanese Shakudo Bracelet Mixed Metal Gold Silver Bronze ShibuichiShiebler Sterling Bell Japanese Mixed Metal New York C1885Vintage Sterling Silver 950 Cigarette Case Japanese Scene 142 GramsJapanese Silver Handle For Sword Stick?The Sailboat Of Silver950 Of The Most Wonderful Japan. A Japanese Antique. 1936 Japanese Shakudo Silver Cigarette Case Marked Sterling 950 Inscribed/signedJapanese Ww2 Sterling Silver Cigarette Case New Invicta Men S 15073 Pro Diver Analog Display Japanese Quartz Silver WatchImportant Tiffany & Co. Aesthetic Japanese Pattern Sterling Silver Sugar Sifter 1900's Japanese Sterling Silver Box Cigarette Case By K. Uyeda Bamboo EtchingSilver (phoenix) The Japanese Treasure Ship.150g./5.28oz.toyohide's Work. Sterling Silver Antique Box Japanese House Of RepresentativeFine & Unusual Japanese Sterling Silver Figural Dogwood Bonsai Plant OkimonoJapanese Sake. One Silver Decanter. #77gs. A Japanese Antique. Vintage Japanese Etched 950 Sterling Silver Cigarette Case, Asahi Shoten, TokyoThe Sailboat Of Silver960 Of The Most Wonderful Japan. A Japanese Antique. Vintage Eastlake Silver Plate Japanese Revival Tall Tea Pot Coffee PotA God Of Wealth Of The Pure Silver. One Of Japanese Seven Lucky Gods. Sterling Silver Ring, Elgin Cigarette Case And Japanese Cigarette LighterJapanese Sterling Silver Figural Snuff Box In Fitted Original Case SignedTokai Silver Star Ss-36 1979 Japanese Vintage Stratocaster With Brand New Frets Japanese Sword Katana 1060carbon Steel Training Sword Silver Tsuba Fulltang Japanese Sencha Green Tea Ware Silver Plated Copper Ibushigin Kettle Jug: Ey35255158# Japanese Kimono / Antique Pin / K18 Gold / Silver4 Japanese / Russian Souvenir 'nagasaki' Silver 84 Dragon & Snake SpoonsPair Of Antique Chinese Japanese Bronze And Silver Scroll Bars SignedJapanese Antique Vintage Pure Silver Sake Cup Six Pieces Sakazuki, #89g Pure Silver Accessory Case. Toothpick Case #40g/ 1.41oz. A Japanese Antique.Vintage Japanese K Uyeda Sterling Silver Signed Large Brooch.Japanese Ikebana #502 Signed Etched Bronze Chokin Silver Gold Koi Carp Fish VasePair Of Japanese Silver Inlaid Bronze Vases Circa 1890950 Sterling Silver Japanese Hand Chased Vesta Lighter In Box, UnusedSilver. A Whiskey Bottle Hip Flask. #162g/ 5.70oz. Japanese Antique. Set Of 2 Sterling Silver Liquor Cordial Cups, Japanese Characters, No Res!A Silver Cake Toothpick. A Crane And Tortoise. Japanese Antique. 2 Original Japanese Asian Art Full Nude B&w Gelatin Silver Photographs 1950s-60s950 Sterling Silver - Japanese Damascene Pagoda 5.2g - Post Earrings Xi5131Vintage Large 950 Sterling Silver Japanese Character Symbol " Long Life " PinSterling Silver. 5 Kinds Of Pin Of A Japanese Style. Japanese Antique. Antique Silver Japanese / Chinese Inro, Netsuke, Ojime, Obi, Mini Tsuba?Horace Silver Quintet Same Blue Note Blp 1562 Japanese Pressing Vinyl LpVintage Japanese Kimono Wedding Obi Silk Fabric Pastel Silver Peacocks PatternTop Gem .70ctw Japanese Black Opal & White Sapphire Sterling Silver PendantGenuine Authentic Pandora Sterling Silver `hanging Red Enamel Japanese Doll`**pandora Genuine Silver Japanese Doll Charm** #29Citizen Women's El3030-59a Analog Display Japanese Quartz Silver WatchOrnament Of A Silver Tiger. Saibou Work. #488.5g/ 17.20oz. A Japanese Antique. 2x Original Japanese Asian Glamour Nude B&w Gelatin Silver Photographs 1950s-60sVintage Japanese Kimono Wedding Obi Silk Fabric Bird Mandarin Duck Silver WavesJapanese Sterling Silver Retractable Champagne Swizzle Cocktail Stir SticksBeatles Silver Overseas Uxp-762-v Japanese Pressing Obi Mono Vinyl 2lp,7Sterling Silver 16.4mm Aaa+ Japanese Kasumi Pearl Pendant Completed HoleVintage Japanese .980 Sterling Silver Spoon Set Of 12 No Reserve 3.3 Oz Silver#930 Rare Japanese Copper Embossed Case Inlay With Silver Torii Handcraft