Tips for Collecting Silver

Written by Kathleen Sullivan

"How can I tell if my flatware is sterling or silverplated?" This is our most frequently-asked question. If it doesn't haverepparttar word "sterling", then it most likely is not sterling silver. The word "sterling" is found on American silver dating after 1860. Early American silver is very rare and was usually marked with onlyrepparttar 116238 maker's name or initials. Silverplate hasrepparttar 116239 maker or company name and often includes terms such as "A1" or "quadruple plate". These are various descriptions ofrepparttar 116240 amount of applied silver.

Whether you choose to collect sterling or silverplate,repparttar 116241 following tips apply.

Choose a Style, Era or Maker. Reflect upon your lifestyle and personal taste, then make choices that will be a good fit. There are many specialty areas of silver collecting. Some collectors are devoted to a pattern while others collect a particular maker or era. Some only collect a particular type of piece, such as fish servers or tea strainers, and many expand into all areas.

Mix-n-Match. The mixing and matching of patterns has great aesthetic appeal on any table. This is a wonderful option particularly with hard-to-find, discontinued flatware patterns and is often a must for affordable entertaining.

Wear or Damage. Signs of use do not necessarily detract from value while damage may or may not. Slight damage on a rare flatware or hollow ware piece will not significantly reduce value, if at all. Be wary of buying tarnished silver as it can hide otherwise obvious wear, damage or repair. The price of a tarnished piece should be signficantly lower than retail becauserepparttar 116242 true condition of a tarnished piece is unknown.

Monograms. Many collectors viewrepparttar 116243 old, elaborate monograms as a lost art form and historically important. It does not detract fromrepparttar 116244 desirability or value of a piece. Ifrepparttar 116245 pieces you collect are readily available without monograms, they are, in this case, more valuable if they do not or never had one. Monogram removal can damage a piece and is, in most cases, easily detectable.

The Art of Stained Glass

Written by Nick Volpe

As with all forms of art, its beauty is defined byrepparttar sensations it arouses. Perhapsrepparttar 116237 most intriguing aspect inrepparttar 116238 art of stained glass is in its' versatility. It's durable, yet fragile, challenging, but yielding torepparttar 116239 experienced hands ofrepparttar 116240 artist. I discovered this form of art some seven years ago when my girlfriend and I decided to take a series of evening classes at a local stained glass retail store. We took six classes and I have been hooked ever since.

If you are in need of a way to take awayrepparttar 116241 stresses of everyday life I would recommend stained glass as great way to "download" and atrepparttar 116242 same time get into a new hobby. It is a form of self-meditation. The steps you'll follow in arriving at your finished work of art will teach you self-discipline, and provide a great sense of artistic achievement. And if you're like me, you will not be able to get enough of it. That's when you'll want to expand out and begin doing projects for others.

But be careful, once word gets out that you're into stained glass, all of your relatives (you knowrepparttar 116243 ones) will berepparttar 116244 first to ask you to make them something. Actually, it's not so bad at first, because they make great test cases and you'll want to experiment.

Where to begin? I suggest a visit to your local stained glass retailer. While not all towns have one (here is a great business opportunity for you) a look into your telephone book should yield a location or two or you can perform an Internet search for local retailers. Start by inquiring into whether or not they run classes. Most retailers usually do because it's a source of increased revenues to them (they know that you'll probably be buying your supplies from them). Cost of classes will be relatively moderate forrepparttar 116245 same reasons. Check out your local County Colleges as well. My instructor also taught night classes there.

TIP: Bring a friend with you; it will add torepparttar 116246 fun and you'll be able to compare notes.

The place you'll be takingrepparttar 116247 classes from will no doubt also provide you withrepparttar 116248 basic beginners kit, which will containrepparttar 116249 tools needed to get you started. Expect to find a glass cutter; there a variety of types and you should chooserepparttar 116250 one that your most comfortable with. I have tried a variety myself but inrepparttar 116251 end settled forrepparttar 116252 basic non-oil filled type. A breaker, similar to pliers, is used to snap off repparttar 116253 glass after being scored. A specially designed scissor is used to cut out your pattern, and of course a soldering iron is used to joinrepparttar 116254 cut pieces of glass together. Expect to pay somewhere inrepparttar 116255 neighborhood of $100.

There are other items that you'll need alongrepparttar 116256 way, but they will be available to you during your classes, such asrepparttar 116257 grinder, which is used to grind down excess glass, not removed byrepparttar 116258 cutting process and to polish offrepparttar 116259 edges ofrepparttar 116260 cut glass. This last part is important because ofrepparttar 116261 foiling process that takes afterrepparttar 116262 glass is ground down. Foiling is a process wherebyrepparttar 116263 copper foil is placed aroundrepparttar 116264 edges ofrepparttar 116265 ground glass. The foil is sticky on one side allowing it to adhere to repparttar 116266 glass. The purpose ofrepparttar 116267 copper foil is to provide a surface forrepparttar 116268 solder to stick too.

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