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    

Fine Old Antique Japanese Gold Lacquered Phoenix Bird Sterling Silver BoxAesthetic Japanese Shibayama Pearl Coral Jade Bird Victorian Crumb Tray SilverFinest Signed Antique Japanese Sterling Silver Sake Wine Pitcher Decanter JapanBeautiful Antique Japanese Woven Silver Baskets Meiji Handmade Bon Bon DishExquisite Finest Quality Rare Vintage Japanese Sterling Silver Rice ChopsticksSuperb Japanese Pure Silver Vase, Chased Cranes & Pine Trees Jungin Mark, MeijiFour Rare Figural Japanese Sterling Silver Salt & Pepper Shakers SetBoxed - Nintendo Gameboy Color -silver Pokemon Centre Edition - Japanese (cib)Fine Japanese Pure Sterling Silver Bonsai Bamboo Clump In Pot Okimono FigureExtremely Rare Antique Jeweled Japanese Sterling Silver Playing Card Case BoxVintage Japanese Lantern 950 Sterling Silver Salt Pepper Shaker Set .99 Start NrPair Of Chinese Or Japanese Silver Posy Vases? (144mm)Excellent Edo Japanese Iron Tsuba,gold & Silver Inlay,"crescent Moon & Bird" Vintage Old Napier Asian Japanese Geisha Repousse Scene Parasol Silver BraceletExcellent Edo Japanese Iron Tsuba,gold & Silver Inlay,"lion"design,and Free GiftVintage Japanese Sterling Silver Kitty Cat Salt Cellar W/ Flower Spoon FigurineFinest Vintage Signed Japanese Solid Sterling Silver Fan Takehiko 82 Gr 2.9 OzInvicta Men's 15398 Pro Diver Analog Display Japanese Quartz Silver WatchTwo Virgin Silver Decanters. #164gs. Japanese Antique. A Work Of Jyoueki.Vintage Japanese 950 Sterling Silver Sailboats Cigarette Case Signed 1954 3.6ozJapanese Vintage Signed Bronze Silver Gold Chokin Fusion Doves Ikebana Vase 3p Finest Antique 1920's Japanese Arts & Crafts Sterling Silver Sake Tea Cup Set1930 Japanese Navy Officer Merit Award Sake Cup Pure Fine Silver Sterling Ww2Masterly H-crafted Exquisite Antique C1920s Japanese Sterling Silver Wood TrayWwii Japanese Sacred Treasure 6th & 7thmedal Emperor Japan Military Silver BadgeJapanese Antique. Pure Silver Cup Two Pieces. #40g. A Flower And A Bush Warbler.Japanese Antique 140 Year Old Octagonal Silver & Bronze Kiseru Aged Patina 17, 17mm Aaa Japanese Kasumi Pearl Earrings Sterling Silver Completed HoleG596: Japanese Old Imari Painted Blue Porcelain Incense Burner W/pure Silver LidWwii Japanese Sacred Treasure 7thmedal Emperor Japan Military Silver BadgeRare Vintage Sterling Silver 950 Volcano Japanese Salt Pepper Shakers Very Large Vintage Signed 2 Masted Japanese Seki Sterling Silver Yacht Ship Box Sterling Grove (invasion) - Foil Nm, Japanese X 1 * Mtg Magic Free S&h Vintage Ornate Silver Japanese Cigarette Case133gJapanese Antique Vintage Pure Silver Sake Cup Two Pieces Sakazuki, #40g A Cigar Case. Silver900. Accessory Case Pill Case. Japanese Antique. 72.3gsTop Gem 1.00ctw Japanese Opal & White Sapphire 925 Sterling Silver PendantFinest Signed Japanese Solid Sterling Silver 985 Yacht Ship By Takehiko JapanJapanese Sterling Silver Salt-pepper Tray Cellar Shaker Spoon & Box-k UyedaJapanese Antique Vintage Silver Sake Cup Five Pieces Sakazuki, #86g. Mitsukoshi Estate Antique Asian Chinese ? Japanese ? Silver Small Plate W Picture 54grA Silver Bowls. A Japanese Antique. #145g Antique Japanese Solid Silver Tea Strainer Ornate Engraved Bowl (hallmarked)Hello Kitty Japanese 35mm Personality Character Camera W Silver Bow In Box, EtcAntique Japanese Komai Silver Gold Inlaid Circular Compact Box Signed MarkedVintage Mid Century Set 8 Japanese Sterling Silver Cocktail Picks In BoxJapanese Sterling Silver Hallmarked Fan Signed Hideaki & Wooden Display StandJapanese Antique Vintage Pure Silver Sake Cup, #15g. Blue Ribbon.Lot 5 Set Nintendo Game Boy Pokemon Green Blue Yellow Gold Silver Japanese TitleG889: Japanese Copper Ware Lid Rest Good Ginkgo Like A Silver By Chikuei-do.Antique Japanese Sterling Silver Perfume Bottle Set With CaseJapanese Antique Vintage Silver Sake Cup Two Pieces Sakazuki, #72g Virgin Silver. Mie Cup. #140g. Syoubidou. A Japanese Antique.Japanese Vintage Kimono, Haori, Silk, Off-white, Sparkly Silver Thread P091708Estate .80ct Japanese Black Opal & Diamond Cut White Sapphire 925 Pendant 2.6gAntique Bitters Bottle Silver Overlay Japanese Prunus Blossoms Casing Hand BlownChinese Or Japanese Silver Or White Metal Buckle D.63mmJapanese 24k Vintage Damescene Komai Cigarette Smokers Case Gold Silver InlayJapanese Sterling Silver And Mixed Metal Enamel Pagoda And Mountain CufflinksPokemon Red,green,yellow,blue,gold,silver,crystal,gb 8games Gameboy Japanese