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Where to shop for pre-owned sterling silver

By Catalogs Editorial Staff

Learn where to shop for antique and pre-owned sterling silver

Learn where to shop for antique and pre-owned sterling silver

Who hasn’t admired the warm glow of silver? Many people consider a sterling set a display that makes a house a home. While such handsome assets find use for special occasions, day-to-day they are a source of pride, and they are often given at weddings. Tea and coffee sets, hollowware, flatware, kettles and trays make welcome additions to any fine table setting.

But you don’t have to buy new pieces in order to get the high quality you’re looking for. It may be more simple and economical to buy pre-owned sterling silver. After all, many classic patterns never go out of style. 

Of course, you can travel to local stores, but that type of canvassing can wear you out. These items take up a great deal of room, so it you would have to cover a lot of territory to decide on what you want.

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It can never hurt to poke around. Once you notice the variety of choices involved in pre-owned sterling silver, you are likely to run to the internet to learn more. Most local shops are likely to carry only new items at the highest price range. Larger websites may lean heavily on the same types of ware.


Do your research and you will be rewarded. There are books and sites that serve as guides to hallmarks and patterns. Once you know enough to start looking seriously, online sites may be where to find what you decide on. There are sellers that provide perfect locations to shop for styles and pattern that suit your taste and budget.

Tea and coffee services can be as elaborate or simple as you like, for instance. Flatware can seem to come from another era, or look as modern as any other type of tableware.

What is sterling silver?

Sterling silver is made up of 92.5% silver and 7.5% other metals by weight. The alloying gives strength to the soft metal so that it can be worked or cast by expert smiths. These craftspeople originally used copper in the process. More recently, zinc, platinum, germanium, silicon and boron have come into play in order to create more tarnish-resistant alloys. Its use dates from at least the 12th century in Continental Europe, likely beginning in Northern German regions. 

It is important to buy from a reputable dealer, who will likely give an accurate description of the pieces and point out any imperfections. Such a firm will usually offer a live contact who you can speak or text with to answer any questions. Some companies will be pleased to negotiate on price.

About dealing, don’t be surprised to see high prices. These are items of prestige and great value. They can never fall below the worth of the actual weight of the metal. Factor in the hand-crafting that goes into creating each work of individual beauty. While they may seem out of reach, some sellers may allow you to pay in monthly installments. That type of plan can put these offerings within reach of almost anyone.

Once acquired, these sets often become heirlooms treasured by future generations. They can retain their value over time. There is a world of collectors you can enter if you wish to, or you can simply appreciate what you have. There is a timeless appeal to this type of collection.

It’s always best to do your research, but at some point you hit on exactly what you like and know you can trust your instincts and decide on what you would love to live with. With sterling silver, it’s hard to go wrong.


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