Abe Silverman's Antique Silver Shop
Unique Finishes on Quadruple Silverplate & Sterling Silver

Butler or Satin Silver Finish:  Satin finish is a texture of a metal surface that is in between matte finish and a brilliant one. It is a series of tiny parallel lines scratched onto a metal surface with a wire brush or polishing tool to produce texture. Satin finish is achieved by various means and methods like sandblasting, wire brushing or chemically altering a shiny metallic surface. This finish gives impression of a soft, pearl-like luster instead of a bright polish.  A satin finish produced by a revolving wheel of wire which makes many tiny scratches, giving the article a mellow surface luster, originally the result of years of hand rubbing and polishing by English butlers.  This finish is sometimes called Grey Finish or French Grey Finish.  Can also be referrred to or described as a Frosted Finish.  Each may show a varying shade of soft finish, but both fall under the general category of butler finishThe Satin or Butler finish was patented by James H. Reily of the Brooklyn Silver Company.

Gun Metal or Oxidized Finish on SilverWhile the genuine gun-metal finish is done upon iron or steel, an excellent imitation and one very extensively used is the oxidized finish produced on silver by means of liver of Sulphur.  A large variety of silver items are daily manufactured and sold with such a finish, and as it can be applied to any metal: brass, copper, bronze or the soft metals, it is a useful one, and also is quite durable.

The advantage of using silver rather than copper for oxidizing with liver of Sulphur is that the color is better and adheres to the silver more tenaciously.  This latter property is of much advantage as it allows scratch-brushing to be carried out without danger of stripping the black deposit.

If the article is of sterling silver, the oxidizing may be done without plating, but other metals require a silver deposit.  If a good finish is desired without danger of removing the silver during the oxidizing, then a fairly heavy silver deposit must be given the article.  From one-half of an hour to one hour is usually necessary to obtain the desired thickness of silver.  The regular silver solution is employed and should NOT be the bright silver solution containing bi-sulphide of carbon as this does not oxidize as satisfactorily as the regular deposit.  The silver is put on "soft" or with a weak current (about 1 volt) and should come out white and uniformly dead.

For oxidizing the silver, liver of Sulphur is used  The addition of ammonia to it, as practiced in oxidizing silver for French-gray work, is not recommended as it renders the deposit soft and apt to be removed in scratch-brushing. 

The silver now presents a uniform, black color, but dead.  In order to bring out the luster, it is necessary to scratch brush it.  This must be done DRY and with a soft, brass-scratch brush revolving rather slowly.  The luster of the oxidized surface is thus brought out to its best advantage.  A lacquer suitable for the purpose is now put on the article and it is completed.  The lacquer protects the surface and at the same time does not destroy the color or luster.

The black color on the silver is, of course, not an oxide, although usually called an "oxidize."  It is the sulphide of silver.  It is extensively used on silver purse and bag frames, silver buckles, silver hat-pins, silver mourning jewelry, silver comb ornaments, silver mesh-bags and many other lines of silver items where a better and more durable color is desired than is possible to obtain with oxidized copper.  The oxidized silver finish, when well done, very closely resembles the genuine gun metal.  The Platers' Guide, Volume 5, c. 1909

Hammered Silver Finish:  A hammered finish is a texture applied to the surface of a metal piece with a hammer to give it a dimpled look. A hammered texture gives impression of a series of small depressions in the metal. This finish is varied from light to deep hammering texture and usually increases the size of the metal piece.

High Polish Silver Finish:  A high polish finish is super shiny and smooth polish applied to a metal surface that gives a highly reflective and mirror-like finish.

Matte or Brushed Silver Finish:  A matte finish, also known as a brushed finish, is a texture applied to metal surface, which gives a dull and non-reflective finish. Matte finish is achieved either by a chemical process or by using an abrasive material to scratch the top layers of the piece.

Martele: Martele is the French word for hand-hammered.  Martele is a hammered finish.  It is also made of 95% pure silver instead of sterling silver which is .925 fine.  From 1897 to about 1912, The Gorham Company wanted to produce special pieces that were completely hand-made.  The artists, chasers, and silversmiths would typically take 100-300 hours to produce just one item.   These pieces are now highly desired and collectible and obtain the highest prices in the silver marketplace; typically between $150 to $600 per ounce depending on the aesthetics of the item.
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