Absinthe Spoon: Barware. A specialized spoon used as part of the absinthe (an
anise flavored liqueur) drinking ritual. The spoon has holes or slots in a flat bowl
and usually has a notch in the handle where it rests on the rim of a glass. A sugar
cube is then placed atop the spoon and ice water is then slowly dripped onto the
sugar cube, which then dissolves and falls through the slots into the liqueur. Popular from the 1870s until 1915
when absinthe was banned throughout most of Europe; it has been making a resurgence since the early 1990s.
Acanthus Leaf: A broad-leafed plant of the Mediterranean region and a popular decorative
Alloy: A metal resulting from the mixture through a molten state of two or more compatible metals, usually
formulated to increase desired properties, such as conductivity, durability, etc.
Alaska Silver: A trademark of the Curtin & Clark Hardware Co. for silverplate
and white metal goods.
Annealing: The process of restoring silver or other metal to its original malleable state after having been worked
by hammering, pressing or rolling which results in a distortion metal on a molecular level which results in
brittleness. The metal is heated to a high temperature and then cooled, restoring the metal to is original molecular
Alpaca or Alpacca Silver: German silver and nickel silver. An alloy with no silver content.
Apostle Spoon: A type of spoon that has as the finial a cast figure depicting one of the twelve
apostles with the figure of Jesus being on a larger, master spoon. The spoons originated in the
early 15th century, and by the 16th century they were being given as baptismal gifts. Each
apostle is identified by his attribute:
Argentium Sterling: The trademark name of a newly patented silver alloy containing germanium which is
impervious to firestain and is resistant to tarnish. It contains the mandatory 92.5% fine silver, so is still sterling
Arabesque: A style of decoration consisting of intertwining foliage, scrolls and tendrils.
Applied: The term given to decorations and borders made separately then affixed to the body of an object.
Assay: The testing of metals to determine their purity.
Armorial: A type of decoration depicting a family’s crest or coat of arms.
Argyll (Argyle): A type of gravy server, resembling a small coffee pot,
that has a chamber for holding hot water to keep gravy warm.
Assay Scrape: The portion of silver removed from an object by an assayer. These marks are usually removed by
the silversmith during finishing, but they can be occasionally found on older pieces.
Assaying: The analytical process of determining the fineness of a metal or alloy.
Austrian Silver: Nickel silver. Has no silver content.
Attenuated: Having a tapering shape.
Antimony: A shiny, brittle elemental crystal, resembling a metal in appearance, and commonly used in alloys.
Apprentice: A person who is bound to serve a skilled tradesman for a number of years, usually seven, in order to
learn that trade.
Apple Corer: A two piece utensil meant to be carried on the person consisting of a handle and a fluted corer. When
being used, the coring end is screwed into the handle; when not in use, the coring end hides inside the handle. Most
popular during the late 18th to mid-19th centuries.
Anthemion: A stylized motif derived from the Greek honeysuckle or
Anvil: A heavy iron or steel block with a smooth flat surface on which metals are hammered or shaped.
Christ, the Master, a cross and an orb or a cross and a blessing
St. Jude, a carpenter's square or a cross
St. John, a chalice or cup (the cup of sorrow)
St. James the Lesser, a fuller's bat or club
St. James the Greater, a pilgrim's staff
St. Bartholomew, a knife
St. Andrew, an X shaped cross
St. Philip, a staff
St. Peter, a key
St. Matthew, an axe (halberd)
St. Judas, a bag of money
St. Thomas, a spear
St. Simon, a saw
Athenic: A line of art silver produced by Gorham 1901-1915, often incorporating other
metals, ivory and glass into the pieces. Athenic pieces were made using a combination
of hand and machine work.
Aluminum Silver: A trade name used by Daniel & Arter Globe Nevada Silver Works of Birmingham, England,
given to wares made of silver-colored alloys. Has no silver content.
Argenline: A trade name used by Daniel & Arter Globe Nevada Silver Works of Birmingham, England, given to
wares made of silver-colored alloys. Has no silver content.