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Anima The silversmith calls anima the wooden cut-shaped frame which will be covered with a thin metal sheet and which will enable to keep the moulding for a longer period of time.

Bobèche French noun. It is the the part of a candlestick which catches wax's drippings.

Bugia Small candlestick in silver or ceramic composed by a small tray with a handle and a bobèche to hold a candle.

Burin or Graver Engraving tool whose function changes according to its use. It can be used to engrave both wood and metal. It is a chisel with a wooden onion-shaped handle and a steel point forged and sharpened in different shapes (e.g. nail-like, half-round, flat and lined shapes). It is used to finely hollow and carve gold, silver, copper, crystal or other materials to create letters, arabesques and other shapes. See also Ciappola.

Burnisher Tool made of steel or hard stone used to rub metals to make them shine.

Burnishing Technique to smooth and shine metals' surfaces by rubbing them with a burnisher.

Candelabrum A candlestick which has up to seven arms included the central one. Candelabra are taller and more majestic than candlesticks with two or three arms, and the silver ones are heavily decorated with: tortili (spiral) legs, statuettes, ornamental vases, rocailles, acanthus's leaves and every type of wreaths. The majority of candelabra from the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century is made of gold-plated copper or silver-plated metal.

Candlestick A utensil to hold a candle usually with one arm which was put on the table or on the fireplace. Candlesticks are commonly placed in pair and are made of three parts: the foot, the stem and the bobèche which can be in silver, copper, or silver-plated metal.

Chisel Tool in steel used by the maker who forced it into the material through the employment of a small hammer.

Ciappola It is an engraving tool in steel which is similar to a burin, but it has a round, half round, or squared point and it is used by silversmiths and engravers.

Cuttlebone Casting It is a technique which uses the inner part of a cuttlebone, which is tender and spongy, to make a mould. This type of casting is used for small objects which are mid-relief, i.e. one-sided objects.

Electroplating In 1836 galvanic plating, also called electroplating, was invented by Elkington in England and later on by Ruolz in France. In this case the plating is carried out on the finished object which is dipped in a solution of silver chloride connected to electric power. The electrolytic phenomenon causes the deposit of a more or less thick silver coating, which varies according to the time of immersion, on the dipped object.

Microfusion It is an ancient technique of casting according to which the melted metal is poured into a cast that contains a mould in wax which thanks to the high temperature will liquefy and come out from a specific hole. metal.

Hammer Silver, like gold, is hammered cold. The hammer is a tool composed by a head and the handle. Its use varies according to its shape. For instance, the chasing hammer has a flat head with a round edge and a ball-shaped handle. With both well smooth and polished hammer's head and anvil, it is possible to burnish the metal using the hammer, i.e. by cutting and polishing the surface of the metal obtaining that refinement known as hammered finish.

Niello Technique which consists in engraving a pattern using a burin on a metal sheet, usually a silver sheet, coated with a dark paste made of sulphur, copper, lead, silver and sometimes borax. Niello melts when it comes to contact with the heated sheet, thus it penetrates into the engraved patterns. Once, it hardens, the sheet is cleaned so that the dark pattern can be seen on the polished background of the metal.

Pitch Pitch is the remains of the distillation of coal tar (common pitch) or wood tar (black pitch). It has a high level of viscosity and it is used to hold objects in place while chiselling them.

Plating It allowed plating through an advanced hand crafted procedure. It consisted of soldering thin sheets of precious metal (gold and silver) with sheets of less precious materials (brass, copper) which had a greater consistency. These plates were then pressed and soldered.

Pumice Stone The pumice stone– which is a very porous, light and hard stone – is used as a file to level and smooth gold, silver, copper, brass etc...

Ruolz Count Henri de Ruolz-Montchal (1808-1887), French chemist who in 1838 improved, at the same time as George and Richard Elkington in England, the technique of silver-plating and golden-plating of metals without employing mercury, i.e. through electrolysis or galvanic plating.

Salt-cellar / Caster In the Seventeenth Century, it was a cylindrical container in silver or ceramic whose upper part allowed to pour salt through a riddled lid. Then, the baluster shape became widespread, while its use shifted from holding salt to sugar and sometimes flour.

Silver-Plated Metal Low-priced metal (usually an alloy made of copper or argentan) coated with a layer of silver to produce objects which have the same shapes and the same use of those made in an actual silversmith's. Until the Seventeenth Century, the manufacturing of silver-plated metal was not authorised, because of the confusion that it might have caused and because of the risks of fraud among the less expert clientèle. Many edicts banned officially its production. From the Eigtheenth Century onwards, many techniques had been employed to make a metal appear like silver. Silver-plated metal has only the maker's mark and the hallmark. The latter indicates the thickness of the silver layer that coats the metal. When the object dates back to the Eighteenth Century the silver layer is consumed on the edges and protruding parts where the yellow copper surfaces: it is better to avoid silver-plating them, as they will loose their antique appeal as well as their value. See also Electroplating.

Silverware Set of Silver objects for domestic or ornamental use. It includes especially flatware, but also toiletries and lightning articles. The silverware from every country is recognizable thanks to the hallmarks which enable to know where it comes from and when it was produced.

Sterling Silver An alloy made of fine silver (92.5%) and copper (7.5%).

Vermeil It is gilded silver (ex argento inauratum). Until 1840 antique Vermeil was obtained with the technique of gold-plating using mercury and then through the electrolysis' procedure. Both antique and modern Vermeil objects must have legal hallmarks of silver's warranty and they do not have any other specific marks.
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