Sterling Silver Jewelry
general, to antique an item is to apply a finishing
process that gives that item an appearance of age.
Many materials, silver and otherwise, can be antiqued.
Antiquing is very common in the sterling silver jewelry
accomplishes at least two goals. First, it gives
the jewelry a time-worn appearance. In our
culture, older things are often valued more.
Second, when a piece of jewelry has many surface
details, produced by stamping or perhaps by soldering
various patterns onto it, antiquing creates contrast
that allows the details to be more visible.
apparent when one examines the sterling silver focal
bead above (image is complements of
Beads of Bali). Antiquing essentially tarnishes this
lovely bead, giving it a darkened appearance. When
the tarnish is wiped away from the protruding parts of
the bead (the soldered wire spirals and granulations),
they "pop out" to the eye, creating great visual impact.
This effect would not be possible if the entire bead
The irony is that people often think of
tarnish as something that should be removed from their
jewelry. In fact, in some styles of
jewelry-making, tarnish is strategically employed.
Many companies sell antiquing solutions for this