Silver Fox Antiques

Unique Original & Restored Silver Antiques

Available for purchase online from Unique Art Online

History Reflected in Silver




Period Dating of Silver Antiques

Overlap in periods and influences always occur. This guide may be helpful in determining the circa in which a piece was produced.

Early Classical Period 1776 -1812

Urn shaped with broad expanses of smooth surface
Geometric shapes: square, rectangle, circle, oval
High dome covers, handles are scrolled, tall, and slender

Federal Period (Adamesque) 1780 -1830

Paul Revere was a famous silversmith of this period
Coin silver was used, mainly for spoons beginning in 1820
Elements of classic Greek and Roman Design
Ovoid and helmet shaped bodies
Pieces could rest on balled feet
Ornamentation: urns, medallions, scrolls, urns, swags
Finials: pineapples, vases
Flat reflective surfaces, pierced galleries, applied beading
Bright-cut engraving were particularly popular, urn-shaped finials
Feathered edges

Empire (Called Regency in England) 1830- 1840

Candlestick stems have forms of Egyptian mummies and Roman soldiers
Bodies or convex with partially fluted bodies
Pieces were heavy with classical helmets and pear shaped bodies

Rococo Revival 1840 - 1860

Exaggerated decoration with flowing and asymmetrical lines
Repoussé decoration covers much of the body
Naturalistic: foliage, grapevines, fruit, flowers, rocks, shells
Finely chased flowers (Baltimore Reposussé)
Scenes which picture history or are sentimental
Handles were often rustic, twigs, grapes, leaves
Double C- and S-curves
Finials - flowers and fruits

Gothic Revival 1840 - 1865

Ecclesiastical influence, perpendicular lines
Medieval appearance with spires, pointed arches, pinnacles
Cast figures used for finials
Geometric forms, lines are vertical & diagonal
Bold presentation

Egyptian Revival 1865 - 1885

Egyptian motifs, cartouches
Designs with lotus blossoms, hieroglyphics, pharaonic faces, sphinxes
Egyptian revival pieces are scarcer than other styles
Finials - sphinxes

Grecian Revival 1862 - 1875 (classic cameo period)
Grecian Revival 1880 - 1910  (medallion motifs)

Designs with cameos, Grecian keys, figures in classical forms,
Greek muses, and Greek columns

Renaissance Revival 1851 – 1870

Straight line and classical vase forms
Pieces described as Greek, Etruscan, Pompeian
Finials: helmets, artichokes, fluting
Story-telling scenes with symbolical significance
Ornamentation on pieces included chains
Pierced work and repoussé are characteristic
Variety of surface textures, matte, burnished, frosting

Colonial Revival 1870 - 1920

Concurrent with other Movements and Revivals
Very simple fiddle handled flatware
Hollowware is plain, flat chased, or undecorated
Shapes are often classical and have a pedestal base
Finials - pine-cones and acorns

Eclecticism 1870 - 1900

Combination of two or more styles
Marked angularity of jugs and pots
Octagonal bodies and beaded borders
Pierced edges
Finials repeated form of the vessel
After dinner coffee pots were exotic with long necks
Oblong squared handles rose above the top of vessels

Aesthetic Movement 1870- 1885

Styles of Near and Far East, Strong Japanese influence,
Emphasis on ornamentation, applied decoration including bamboo, birds of paradise, cranes, butterflies, blossoms and stylized fans.
Islamic, Persian, Turkish style vessels possessed long necks

Arts and Crafts 1880 - 1920

Hand-made quality pieces incorporating simple lines and designs
May have hammer marks, and present as rough or chunky
These are one-of-a-kind pieces using nature as the basis for design

Art Nouveau 1890 - 1920

Free flowing lines, asymmetrical natural motifs, sense of intimacy
Natural themes: nymphs, insects, leaves, swans, flowers,
Exotic/erotic designs incorporated female faces and forms
Undulating curves
Gorham introduced martele' styling

Liberty Style 1899 -1930

(Liberty style, stile Liberty, Cymric (Welsh))
Archibald Knox (1864 - 1933) designed for Liberty & Co. 1899 -1912
Pieces exhibit Celtic motifs, stylized knots, interlaced symbols, stylized plant or flowers and symmetric ornamentation
Pieces were machine made, but hammered at end to give a hand-finished appearance.

Art Deco 1920 - 1940

Characterized by geometric designs and abstraction.
Simple designs, straight lines and short spouts
Pieces are strong, practical, and streamlined


General rule if a smith's initial appears on a piece it is pre 1800s
General rule if a smith's name appears on a piece it is pre 1850s

Auricular style appears in Rococo and Art Nouveau periods
Shape of an ear lobe or conch shell, foliage, scrolls, dolphins, and nudes

The Victorian Era 1837 – 1901
The Edwardian Era 1901– 1920 (although he only ruled from 1901 until 1910)
Era's spanned periods

Other Silver Dating Guides and Information


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