Coin Silver – An alloy of silver and copper, coin silver contains 90% silver. Coins were often melted to create silver for smithing work and mixed with other alloys for strength. As such, silver content in such pieces can be difficult to determine.
Dead Pawn – Vintage pawned jewelry is often referred to as Dead Pawn or Old Pawn. Historically, an individual would bring in a piece of jewelry to a pawn store in exchange for money. They were given a time frame - usually between 60-90 days to pay back those funds in order to reclaim their jewelry. Often pieces were never reclaimed and then termed "Dead" and available for resale in the pawn shop. In truth, unless dealers and pawn shops kept meticulous records of sources, there is little way to authenticate the original source of such pieces. Because of this, we avoid using that term unless we can guarantee the source.
Estate Jewelry – Traditionally, jewelry that was acquired from a deceased individuals estate. However, the term has become more commonly associated with pre-owned jewelry - regardless of source.
Filigree - Delicate gold or silver wire work formed by twisting, scrolling and curling into a lace-like design.
Gold-Fill - A process of pressure bonding a thick layer of gold to a base metal (often brass), gold-fill jewelry does not tarnish or wear off (like gold-plate) and will last a lifetime. Most gold-fill is 12k or 14k depending on the country of origin.
Navajo Silver – Also called German Silver or Nickel Silver, this is not actually silver at all but called so because of it's silver appearance. It was used as a less expensive alternative in the souvenior jewelry trade and is an alloy of copper, nickel and zinc.
Repousse – A ancient metalworking technique used by artisans whereby the hammering is done on the inside (or backside) of the piece in order to create a raised design .
Silver – Sterling silver is an alloy of silver that contains 92.5% silver and 7.5% of copper (most commonly). Sterling silver jewelry will be stamped with the following markings: STER, Sterling or 925. Antique silver produced in Germany and Italy will often carry the hallmark 800 - meaning the piece consists of 80% silver.
Solid Gold - We source antique pieces primary from England, France and the United States. Solid gold markings are often noted as 9k, 10k, 12k, 14k and 18k. The passing of laws regarding hallmarking jewelry varied by country. As such, if a piece is not marked, we test it before sale.