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 Antique Japanese Damascene Carved, Silver & Gold Inlaid Vase Meiji PeriodAntique Japanese Meiji Shibuichi Shakudo Damascene Gold Silver Inlaid Iron BoxVtg Japanese Toshikane Arita Porcelain Ceramic Sterling Silver BraceletStunning Japanese Sterling Silver 2 Pc. Grooming Dragons Set Mirror / Hair BrushJapanese Meiji Period Bamboo Design Pure Silver Cocktail Shaker 675 Gr Nr $9.99 Japanese Sterling Silver Niello Decorated Cigarette Case & Lighter BoxedJapanese Meiji Period Lined Free Form Pure Silver Bowl 235 Gr Nr $9.99 Japanese Shakudo Mixed Silver Gold And Copper Cigarette Case. Signed. MeijiApple Iphone 6 - Silver 64gb - Japanese Carrier Locked Phone Need To Be UnlockedJapanese Pokemon 2005 Pcg Golden Sky Silver Sea Suicune Gold Star Holo 032/106 Japanese Meiji Period Lined Iris Design Pure Silver Bowl 115 Gr Nr $9.99 Vintage Japanese 950 Sterling Silver 5 Tier Pagoda Salt & Pepper ShakersHawaii: Remember Pearl Harbor M&r 2m-382 Japanese Planes Bombing Silver Scarce!Fine Old Japanese Sterling Silver Spider Web Vtg Geisha Girl Hair Pin OrnamentFine Old Pair Chinese Or Japanese Sterling Silver 950 Salt & Pepper Shakers Silver980. The Japanese Treasure Ship. 205g/ 7.22oz.takehiko's Work. Japanese Iris Design Sterling Silver & Glass Tray Yokohama Signed Nr $9.99 Very Nice Antique Chinese Japanese Pure Silver Floral Teapot Pot Jungin MeijiJapanese Antique Vintage Pure Silver Sake Cup Five Pieces Sakazuki, #75g Vintage Japanese Sterling Silver 950 Signed Geisha Spoon Jewelry ArtPokemon Card Jr Stamp Rally 2000 Gold & Silver Promo Mewtwo,eevee Japanese F/sRare! Golden Dewdrop Leaf,japanese Akoya Pearl 999 Fine Silver Bangle (handmade)Japanese Antique Pure Silver Kiseru Pipe Tobacco Holder Leather Case DragonVintage 1920's Japanese Shakudo Damascene Cufflinks, 24k Gold & Silver!925 Silver 15, 15mm Aa Japanese Kasumi Pearl Earrings Completed Hole*1755 Japanese 19th Century Samurai Antique Tsuba "karako" Inlay Gold & SilverSilver Conjugal Chopsticks. #55g/ 1.94oz. Japanese Antique. Antique 19th Century Chinese Japanese Solid Silver Menu Holder Hallmarked Mixed Metal Gorham Japanese Knife Bronze Sterling Silver 1885 Carp AestheticAntique Japanese Samurai Sword Silver Fuchi + KashiraSet Of 5 Graceful Sterling Silver Crane Picks Japanese Jungin Meiji Mark ? NrFine Japanese Niello 24k Gold & Silver Inlays Damascene Card/cigarette Case-boxRare Vintage Japanese Chagama Sterling Silver Tea KettleMixed Metal Gorham Japanese Knife Bronze Sterling Silver 1885 Samurai AestheticMixed Metal Gorham Japanese Knife Sterling Silver 1885 Ducks Scholars AestheticThe Tray Serving Very Wonderful Rare Old-fashioned Japanese Sterling Wood TeaJapanese Antique Vintage Pure Silver Sake Cup Five Pieces Sakazuki, #95g Japanese Antique Vintage Pure Silver Sake Cup Two Pieces Sakazuki, #60g Japanese Antique Vintage Pure Silver Sake Cup Six Pieces Sakazuki, #70g Finest Japanese Solid Sterling Silver Cordials Wine Cup Goblet 73 Gr 2.6 OzMixed Metal Gorham Japanese Knife Sterling Silver 1885 Ducks Men Aesthetic Pure Silver. Triple Cup. #140g/ 4.94oz. A Japanese Antique. Vintage Japanese .980 Sterling Silver Spoon Set Of 12 No Reserve 5.3 Oz SilverInvicta Men's Pro Diver Analog Display Japanese Quartz Silver Watch 17559Silver950. A Fan Type. A Toothpick Case. Decoration Box. 32g. Japanese Antique. The Sailboat Of Silver970 Of The Most Wonderful Japan. A Japanese Antique. A Set Of Three Vintage Japanese Ceremonial Sake Cups. Silver? Seal Mark On Base.#2062: Japanese Oxidized Silver/ibushigin Sencha Copper Bottle Teapot DobinJapanese Sword Tsuba - Silver InlayJapanese Vintage Brass Teapot/ Ibushi-gin/ Oxidized Silver/ 8557Japanese Antique Vintage Silver Sake Cup Three Pieces Sakazuki, #90g The Sailboat Of Silver985 Of The Most Wonderful Japan. A Japanese Antique. Vintage Japanese Kimono Obi Silk Piece Golden Shishi Lion Foo Dog Silver PineSilver985 (phoenix) The Japanese Treasure Ship. 215g/ 7.58oz.takehiko's Work. Fine Old Signed Japanese Chinese Sterling Silver Chalice Covered Urn TrophyJapanese Silver Metal Cigarette Box With Flowering Tree & Bird DesignGenuine Authentic Pandora Sterling Silver `hanging Red Enamel Japanese Doll`Top Gem 1.40ctw Japanese Black Opal & White Sapphire Sterling Silver EarringsA858: Japanese Nickel Silver Ware Incense Burner Fantastic Work By Geppo Suga.Pure Silver. Takasago. Old Couple. Japanese Antique.