What is Silver Gilt? | Should You Be Collecting "Silver Gilt" Antiques? | 5 Min Read
Silver Gilding (also refered to as Vermeil/Silver-gilt) refers to the process in which a solid silver object is plated with a fine coating of gold to present a gold appearance.
Additionally, gilding may be used as coating as gold provides provides an unreactive layer of protection (e.g. to prevent snuff from reacting/oxidising with silver).
Fig 1(above): Silver Snuff Boxes with a Silver Gilt Interior.
Fig 2 : 3 Silver-gilt Antique Snuff Boxes
Some silver items are fully gilt in order to give a solid gold appearance with the main benefit being the lower price in comparison to a solid gold object.
The silver snuff boxes in "fig 2" all feature a silver gilt exterior - upon a quick glance, would you be able to tell if they are solid gold or silver gilt snuff boxes?
Fig 3 : A mixture of silver antique items.
One may wish to add silvergilt items to their collection purely as a single piece of antique with a gold appearance, however, we believe that silver gilt items can also compliment and contrast a preexisting silver collection.
Unlike having an all gold or silver collection (which is also marvellous by itself) an additional hint of gold tone can sometimes really captivate onlookers of the collection and add a highlighting point to your display case.
Fig 4 (Below) : Exterior vs Interior of Silver (Gilt) Snuff Boxes.
An alternate perspective on silver gilt items and collections can be thought of as a sort of surprise.
As evident in fig 4, on one hand, the exterior of regular silver snuff boxes may appear reserved and minimalist, however, once you open them and turn them around, the gilt interior unquestionably speaks for itself - presenting a highly contrasting and captivating interior gold tone.
Not only can you enjoy two sides (quite literally) of the antique object, should an occasion ever arise, you could also explain and discuss about the concept of silver gilding to a lucky visitor who happens to see your collection.
Overall, at Artisan Antiques we are very much fond of silver gilt antiquities regardless of whether it is for aesthetic or practical purposes.
May we suggest you research silver gilt items thoroughly if you are considering purchasing them and especially the condition of the object in question, as the plating can wear out over time thus losing its value and aesthetic beauty.
All the photos above are of items available from our store. Please click on any photos to be redirected to our store.