Guardian Gold Logo What is Weighted Silver?

Silverware comes in all forms, shapes, and sizes. As a material, silver was used for centuries for various objects, household items, and even as currency for trade. Sometimes you might have silver and wonder if it is pure or if there is anything else in it that makes it heavy – is it weighted? So, what is weighted silver? Why is it used? And how can you tell if your silver is weighted?

An ornate silver teapot
Silver teapot with its weighted non-silver handle removed

What is Weighted Silver and Why does Weighted Silver Exist?

Weighted silver has been in fashion for at least 100 years for assorted items. Weighting silver is simply adding a heavy substance such as wax or cement, to what is normally a small amount of silver. Weighting silver provides balance and structural support to the items. Items that commonly have added weight are candlesticks, knives, trophies, types of bowls and dishes, salt and pepper shakers, and handheld mirrors. As you are reading, you may be wondering why you have never come across such things in day-to-day life, and that’s mainly because these items are rarely circulated in the present day. Because of their silver content and age and other factors, weighted silver often becomes antique and collectable, and sometime valuable for the silver content.

Silver candlestick with weight added to it through the substance its been filled with
This damaged candlestick, cut into pieces shows the weighted material inside the entire length.

How to Detect Weighted Silver

Weighted silver is sometimes difficult to spot, however there are always markers. When it comes to knives, their handles are almost always weighted (Just like silver handheld mirrors). A straightforward way to tell is to simply look at the handle and feel the weight distribution, if the handle is solid and heavy, there is material within it providing balance and sturdiness. Weighted silver will always have wax in the base of the piece and sometimes throughout, therefore any candlesticks or dishes which have weight at their base, more-so than anywhere else, are most likely weighted. The easiest way to guarantee your silver is weighted is to, unfortunately, tear it open. The process can be tedious, however cracking open your silver items and pulling the wax/weight out will allow you to get a more exact estimate on the value of your silver. It is difficult to guarantee silver value in weighted items without taking them apart as when it comes to precious metals the value is based on quantity and purity. It is the ultimate guarantee that your silver is either hollow with weight, hollow with no weight, or solid silver.

Three sterling silver knife handles with weight and blade removed
Silver knife handles emptied of their non-silver weight

Before you crack open your silver, you might want to do a little research to find out if it has any value as an object because once you damage it, it is only good for its scrap value. 

Final Thoughts

Whether or not silver is weighted, this attribute is important to understanding its value. Whenever buying something for its silver value make sure that the material used to add weight has been taken into consideration. While weighted silver comes in many shapes and forms, it is commonly associated with candlesticks and cutlery handles, so be aware of what you’re buying. If you are ever uncertain of what you may have and are only concerned with its silver value, breaking it open and removing the weight is the best choice. Guardian Gold will be happy to answer any questions about your weighted silver over the phone or in person and while recommending you remove the weight in your silver pieces before bringing them to us, we can buy your silver regardless.

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