Whether for using or keeping as an ornament, an antique silver box is popular for collecting. With beautiful designs, unique history, and collectable value, antique silver boxes range in size, style, quality, and price. When buying an antique silver box, it pays to have some knowledge about silver, differences in quality, the types of boxes available, what to consider when buying, and how to clean and care for it.
Silver is a soft metal occurring naturally in its pure form. A precious metal, silver is used to make jewellery, cutlery, homewares, ornaments, currency coins, and various other items. Due to its high thermal and electrical conductivity, silver also has industrial uses, as in photography, electrical components, and disinfectants.
Quality of Antique Silver Boxes
Various types of silver exists, and antique silver boxes differ in their quality depending on what type of silver they are made from. The majority of antique boxes traditionally use sterling silver. Britannia silver antique boxes use a purer form of silver and are usually more expensive than sterling silver antique boxes. Less expensive than solid silver boxes, silver plated boxes only feature a thin layer of silver covering.
Types of Antique Silver Boxes
Buyers have the choice of various types of antique silver boxes. Small types of boxes include the snuff box and the pill box. An antique snuff box is usually highly detailed and small enough to fit into a pocket. Historically, a solid silver snuff box with intricate detailing was a sign of wealth and status and is a collectible item of value. An antique silver pill box is also small and often has less detailing. A cigarette box is usually quite plain and of medium size. Silver jewellery boxes and trinket boxes are medium size decorative boxes, sometimes featuring a lock and key mechanism. Larger antique silver boxes include bible boxes, music boxes, and strong boxes.
Considerations When Buying an Antique Silver Box
To ensure the quality of any antique silver box, there are some tips to identifying the type, age, and quality of a box. A hallmark is a stamp on the silver verifying its quality and, sometimes, its origin and history. Solid silver antique boxes should feature a hallmark stamp. Breathing on silver, causing it to mist up, helps to reveal any repairs, faults, or joins in the silver. Buying from a reputable dealer offers greater peace of mind with regard to the item's authenticity.
Cleaning and Care of an Antique Silver Box
To clean antique silver boxes, use a non-abrasive silver polish liquid, or foam cleaner along with a soft lint-free cloth. Once it is clean, maintain it regularly by dusting and wiping it using warm soapy water and a soft cloth. Always dry a silver box immediately after washing it. Silver polishing gloves are a useful way to keep antique silver boxes in their best condition.