History of Silversmithing
– Silversmiths in ancient Near East charged different prices for their products based on weight.
– Guilds of silversmiths formed in medieval Europe and England to resolve disputes and protect members.
– Artisans emigrated to America in the 17th century, leading to the industrialization of silverworking.
– Swami Silver, a distinctive silverware craft, emerged in Madras during British rule in 1875.
– The Beta Israel of Ethiopia were known for their silversmithing skills.

Techniques in Silversmithing
– Silversmiths shape silver using hammers, anvils, and stakes.
– Work-hardened silver can crack and weaken without occasional annealing.
– Casting techniques are used to create knobs, handles, and feet for hollowware.
– Soldering and riveting are common methods to assemble silver pieces.
– Silversmiths use various heat sources, including gas torches and laser beam welding.

Related Trades
– Jewelers also work in silver and gold, but their techniques and practices differ from silversmiths.
– Chain-making and gem-setting are specific to jewelers and not silversmiths.
– Armor-making, once closely related to silversmithing, has a disrupted tradition since the 17th century.
– Silversmithing and goldsmithing have a continuous history spanning millennia.
– Modern armor-making techniques combine silversmith and blacksmith techniques.

Notable Silversmiths
– Companies such as Garrard & Co, Hersey & Son, Phipps & Robinson, and Reid & Sons have a significant presence in the silversmithing industry.
– Acragas and Kurt Aepli are notable individuals in the field of silversmithing.
– Zahroun Amara, a renowned Mandaean niello silversmith, created silverware owned by prominent figures like Winston Churchill and the British royal family.
– Hester Bateman is a well-known historical silversmith.
– Peter Bentzon, an early-American silversmith of African ancestry, is recognized for his identified silverwork.

– Marcin Latka’s work on the silver sarcophagus of Saint Stanislaus.
– Jack Ogden’s book ‘Ancient Jewellery’ provides insights into the history of silversmithing.
– Charles Brain’s notes on pickling in silversmithing.
– Major H. Sandford Morgan’s article ‘Secrets in Silver – An Ancient Handicraft.’
– Various sources and museums provide information on Zahroun Amara, the Amara Silversmiths leader.Sources: