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Author Topic:   Engraving

Posts: 2334
Registered: Mar 2003

iconnumber posted 08-14-2018 09:33 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ahwt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

This fork is silver plate, but has in my opinion a very lovely engraved portion that is also more intricate than many that I have seen.

I wonder was the engraving done before the silver plating was done or after. It would seem to me that engraving first would allow deeper cuts that would then be filled with silver during the engraving process.

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Scott Martin
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iconnumber posted 08-14-2018 12:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I don't know and without personally inspecting, its hard to guess.

If I were to speculate...

It really doesn't look like the depth that is usually done when "bright cutting". So I would think it was done after it was made/silverplated.

It must have been heavily plated and the person doing the engraving had a very light touch.

Perhaps one of our silversmith members has an opinion .

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iconnumber posted 08-14-2018 01:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dragonflywink     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Rainwater's 'American Silverplate' (3rd ed., 2000), gives a clear description of the production process, including that hand engraving, chasing, and repousse work, as well as engine-turning were done prior to plating, and this can be seen clearly on badly worn pieces (particularly on Britannia-metal) where the plating is still present in the engraving while the body is darkened with no plating left. That said, engraving could be and was done after production, and like Scott, I can't really tell on yours - will say that I have a late 19th-early 20th century Danish silverplate on brass spoon, as well as a pair of mid-late 19th century unmarked berry spoons (most likely English), also silverplate on brass, that I'm sure were engraved after plating. The Danish piece is quite worn and the engraving is down to all brass with most of the silver remaining on the top surface, and the pair is in very good condition, but a strong loupe reveals the deepest cuts go into the base metal (easier to see with the yellow than white metal base).


[This message has been edited by dragonflywink (edited 08-14-2018).]

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iconnumber posted 08-14-2018 09:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ahwt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks Cheryl, The layer of silver is pretty deep and if the base is a white metal it makes sense that the engraving is done last.
In Old Sheffield Plate sometimes a sterling silver insert was done where the engraving or monogram was placed. I suspect that was done to allow the engraver more freedom.

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