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    

Huge Antique Meiji Japanese Ginbari Gin Bari, Enamel Paintings Solid Silver VaseVtg Japanese Toshikane Arita Porcelain Ceramic Sterling Silver BraceletSterling Silver Japanese Satsuma Belt Buckle Hand Painted 22k Gold Cobalt Blue Edo / Meiji Japanese Iron Tetsubin Teapot With Silver Inlay On HandleVintage Etched Sterling Silver 950 Japanese Cigarette Case & LighterRare Vintage Japanese Solid Sterling Silver Miniature Daruma Wish Doll Japan NrFinest Large Japanese Solid Sterling Silver Cocktail Shaker 456 Gr 16.1 Oz JapanAntique 19th Century Chinese Japanese Solid Silver Menu Holder Hallmarked Vintage Japanese 950 Sterling Silver Pagoda Lantern Salt & Pepper Shakers MoonsFinest Japanese Sterling Silver Duck Open Salt Cellar Bowl/dish Dip Figural Pair950 Sterling Silver - Japanese Hand Chased Cuff 20.5g - Bracelet (6") Ys7931Silver Conjugal Chopsticks. #55g/ 1.94oz. Japanese Antique. Finest Antique Masterly Hand Crafted Japanese Sterling Silver Jewelry Box JapanMasterly H-crafted Exquisite Antique C1920s Japanese Sterling Silver Wood TrayRare Wwii Airborne Lot 925 Bracelet Japanese Compass Patches 118th 11th StampsJapanese Copper 22k Gold Silver Hand Worked Artist Signed Landscapes Japan Antique Japanese 950 Sterling Silver Glass Decanter Superb Quality WorkSilver985 (phoenix) The Japanese Treasure Ship. 215g/ 7.58oz.takehiko's Work. Seiko Men's Ssc229 Sport Solar Analog Display Japanese Quartz Silver WatchSilver. The Japanese Treasure Ship. #260g/ 9.16oz. Japanese Antique. A God Of Hotei / Budai Of The Pure Silver. One Of Japanese Seven Lucky Gods. Large Vintage Japanese Enamel Cigarette Case W/ Silver & Gold Lacquer PaintingFinest Extremely Rare Vintage Pair Of Japanese Sterling Silver Ducks FigurinesJapanese Sterling Silver Flask Dragon & Pearl Signed 8oz Exquisite Vintage Japanese Solid Sterling Silver Enamel Treasure Ship Japan NrJapanese Antique Vintage Pure Silver Sake Cup Five Pieces Sakazuki, #135g Antique Vintage Japanese Komai Type Cigarette Case With Gold & Silver K24 InlayJapanese Antique Vintage Silver Sake Cup Three Pieces Sakazuki, #90g The Huge Sailboat Of Silver. 3 Masts. #290g/ 10.21oz. Japanese Antique. Japanese Aesthetic Sterling Silver Bamboo Salt Cellar & Pepper Shaker Set CaddyGorham Honey Set In The Japanese Taste Sterling Silver Pots Mixed Metals TrayVintage Japanese Silver Cigarette Case With Pogoda And Volcano EtchingBeautiful Set Of Six Antique Chinese Japanese Sterling Silver Spoons-56.4gFlower Of An Orchid Openwork Obi Buckle Made Of Pure Silver. A Japanese Antique.Pokemon Red,green,yellow,blue,gold,silver,crystal,card Gameboy Japanese Lot 8Top Gem 1.20ctw Japanese Black Opal+white Sapphire Sterling Silver Earrings 3.1gFinest Exquisite Vintage Japanese Sterling Silver Pearl Brooch Sash Clip JapanJapanese Japan Shunga Geisha Coitus Erotica Sterling Belt Buckle W/hidden PanelVintage Japanese .980 Sterling Silver Spoon Set Of 12 No Reserve 5.3 Oz Silver950 Sterling Silver - Japanese Mountain Flowers 7.7g - Cufflinks Mens Zd2181Japanese Antique Vintage Silver Sake Cup Two Pieces Sakazuki, #60g Rare & Unusual Japanese Sterling Silver Figural Pine Tree Bonsai Plant OkimonoSterling Silver - Die-cut Japanese Symbols Cuff 14.4g - Bracelet (5.5") Ys6251Lot Of Old Japanese And Thai Sterling And 950 Silver Spoons Bowls Bracelet EtcRare!! Vintage Japanese Meiji Emperor Army Stay Memorial Pure Silver Sake Cup Pure Silver. Triple Cup. #135g/ 4.76oz. A Japanese Antique. Invicta Men's Pro Diver Analog Display Japanese Quartz Silver Watch 17935 Old Vintage Mens Cufflinks Japanese Man Carved Japan SterlingVery Rare Vintage 950 Sterling Silver Japanese Dojo Salt And Pepper ShakersPure Silver. Takasago. Old Couple. Japanese Antique. Vintage Japanese Kimono Wedding Obi Silk Fabric Pastel Silver Peacocks PatternExquisite Signed Japanese Figural Fan Shape Sterling Silver Pill/snuff Box NrSterling Silver - Japanese Torii Gate 0.9g - Charm Pendant Zb2551#2376: Japanese Sterling Silver Beautiful Sakazuki Sake Cup W/signed BoxAntique Vtg Silver Tone Woven Etched Mother Of Pearl Asian Japanese Bracelet Invicta Men's 15078 Vintage Analog Display Japanese Quartz Silver WatchSterling Silver 17.2mm Aaa+ Japanese Kasumi Pearl Pendant Half Hole DrilledJapanese Vase 505 Etched Antique Bronze Silver Mix Metal Frog Decor Double GourdVintage Japanese “okimono” Bronze Sparrow Figure – Copper, Silver, Gold AccentsMe9: Vintage Japanese Tea Bowl, Raku Ware By Shoraku Sasaki, Silver, 6.7"