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    

Chinese / Japanese Meiji Hallmarked / Signed Solid Silver Dragon Bowl 237g10" Japanese Meiji Bronze Mixd Metal Silver Gold Vase Flocks Of Cranes VaseSigned Meiji Japanese Shakudo Bronze Mixed Metal Shibayama Solid Silver Box RareSigned Toshimasa Meiji Japanese Shakudo/shibayama Mixed Metal Solid Silver BoxYama Flute Yfl31 Solid Silver Head Closed Hole Offfset G Japanese Made 3 SeriesAntique Japanese Sterling Silver & Mixed Metal Inlay, Cigarette Case, NrRare Vintage Signed Japanese Solid Sterling Silver Bottle Opener 85 Grams 3 OzAntique Japanese Export Solid 950 Sterling Silver Hip Flask, Showa Period FloralJapanese Sterling Silver Tea Set 2 Pcs Samurai Shokai 3p Finest Antique 1920's Japanese Arts & Crafts Sterling Silver Sake Tea Cup SetSpectacular Japanese Sterling Silver Seki Phoenix Treasure Ship 350 Gr 12.3 OzJapanese Sterling Teapot 1872 Gorham 33 OzExquisite Vintage Antique Japanese Solid Sterling Silver Pill/snuff Box JapanAntique Japanese-chinese Bronze Tripod Censer/ Inlaid Gold & Silver/early 20th CMasterly Hand Crafted Japanese Sterling Silver 985 Model Yacht By Takehiko JapanUltra Fine Antique Signed Japanese Solid Sterling Silver Dish Bowl 164 Gr JapanOld Japanese Niello Sterling Silver 950 Salt-pepper Kokeshi Doll ShakersFinest Signed Antique Japanese Sterling Silver Sake Wine Pitcher Decanter JapanAntique Japanese Gin Kiseru Smoking Pipe Silver Koi Carp Fish Artist Sign & CaseRare Barbie Vintage Japanese Exclusive Silver Kimono B901-1 Chevron Print W/ ObiJapanese Sterling Dragon Belt Signed Tiger & Dragon Antique Vintage Japanese Malachite Stone Enamel Bronze Vase Inlaid Silver CraneFinest Japanese Large Framed Sterling Silver Ship In Relief By Takehiko Japan NrExquisite Rare Japanese Sterling Silver Cigarette Lighter Case Box No InsertVirgin Silver. Silver999・emakimono. A Work Of Takehiko. A Japanese Antique.Fine Old Set Of 5 Japanese Sterling Silver Figural Cocktail / Hor Dourves ForksJapanese Vintage Signed Bronze Silver Gold Chokin Fusion Wood Duck Vase Finely Engraved Antique Signed Japanese Sterling Silver Horse Plaque Tile JapanAntique Japanese Asian Ivory Color Page Turner Ornate Silver Handle Birds GardenJapanese Antique Vintage Silver Sake Cup Five Pieces Sakazuki, #102g. Signed Yabu Meizan Set 4 Meiji Japanese Satsuma Salt Bowls W/box + Silver SpoonsJapanese Antique Vintage Sterling950 Sake Cup Five Pieces Sakazuki, #135g.Complete Pokemon Silver Japanese GameboyVintage Japanese Sterling Silver 'mount Fuji' Scenes Panel Bracelet - Superb!!Antique 90 Year Old Signed Japanese Bronze Vase Hibachi Silver Gold Mt. FujiThe Sailboat Of Pure Silver Of The Most Wonderful Japan. A Japanese Antique. Pokemon Red,green,yellow,blue,gold,silver,crystal 7games Gameboy Japanese Game(wSilver White Japanese Mens Straight Full Cosplay Wig Silver Soul/sakata Gintoki/Finest Antique Japanese Sterling Silver Ebisu God Of Fortune Patron Of LaborersVintage Japanese Porcelain Kutani Whistling Bird Silver Sake Bottle & 6 Sake CupLarge Antique Japanese Sterling 970 Silver ShakersXm9: Japanese Tea Bowl With Silver Glaze, Kyo Ware By Famous Potter, Isen HeianSyoubidou. Pure Silver. Mie Cup. #148g. A Japanese Antique. Vintage Japanese Cigarette Case - Solid Sterling SilverSet 6 Sterling Silver Japanese Salt Spoons Lotus Blossom Bowls W/original BoxJapanese Antique Silver950 Sake Cup Two Pieces Sakazuki, #34.2g Vintage Sterling Japanese Pagoda Salt & Pepper ShakersThe Sailboat Of Silver970 Of The Most Wonderful Japan. A Japanese Antique. Pokemon Red,green,yellow,blue,gold,silver, 6games Gameboy Japanese Game(work,ok)1pcs Japanese Style Silver Fluorescent Color High Temperature Fiber WigScuderia Ferrari Men's Analog Display Japanese Automatic Silver Watch 830109 Antique Chinese Or Japanese Figural Silver Plated Cigar Holder Case Fish Design Exquisite Vintage Japanese Solid Sterling Silver Dish Tray 60 Gr 2.1 Oz W BoxMint Bureau. Pure Silver. #95g. Cup Of A Minister Of Finance. A Japanese AntiqueSilver. A Fan Type. A Toothpick Case. Decoration Box. 27g. A Japanese Antique. Vintage Japanese Sterling Silver Miniature Seated Male Figure Sculpture StatueSilver White Japanese Mens Straight Full Cosplay Wig Silver Soul/sakata Gintoki/Finest Japanese Sterling Silver Five Storied Pagoda In Relief By Takehiko JapanJapanese 950 Sterling Silver Lantern Salt Shaker Circa 1940Stunning Vintage Japanese Carved Soapstone Silver Ring Symbols 800 Silver Jade