Is my piece worth replating?
Your family treasures can never be replaced with modern reproductions. The fine detail, intricate design and high quality of older pieces is not found in today's silver. Investing in the repair of antiques and old silver not only restores, but also extends the functionality of the piece far beyond that of contemporary products.
Most importantly, the original beauty of your heirloom is regained, enhancing not just the monetary but also the sentimental value, which is priceless. At Senter Plating we use age old proven methods to restore your precious pieces. Our craftsmen have been put to the test on many occasions to restore severely damaged pieces. Normally, the cost of replating is considerably less than the cost of a new quality piece. To many people, the most important reason to have an item replated is the sentimental value of the piece.
Replated silver is never like brand new. Wear marks, deep pitting, and knife cuts may still show. Our craftsman use their years of experience to determine what flaws can be removed from the base metal without causing damage to the piece.
How do I know if an item is worth repairing or re-plating?
Examine restoration vs. replacement carefully. Many antiques cannot be replaced. If the piece is well made and in reasonable condition, restoration is practical. When examining restoration, consider the age of the piece. Antiques made prior to the 1940's exhibit quality design craftsmanship and materials, but items manufactured in the last 20 years are of questionable quality and value.
Does re-plating destroy the value of my antique?
No. Pieces that were originally silver plated can be re-plated today. In fact, many museums re-plate their silver items.
What is Sterling Silver?
Sterling is 92.5% pure silver. The other 7.5% is a hardening agent, which is usually copper.
Is all Sterling Silver content the same?
No. Standards for Sterling Silver can vary by country, with purity ranging from 80% to 95% depending on the origin of manufacturer.
What is Silver Plate?
Silver Plate, also known as "electroplating," is a process in which a coating of silver is placed over a less expensive base metal using an electric current. The electric current causes the silver molecules to bond with the base metal. The base metal is usually britannia, nickel silver, a combination ofother metals.
How do I know if an item is sterling silver or silver plated?
Silver and gold items are stamped with a "hallmark" which indicates the origin, quality, and purity. The hallmark is primarily located underneath the item, but can be on other parts of the piece. Often the mark is not recognizable by the untrained eye and requires an experienced professional to identify it.
What is the difference between "estate silver" and "new silver"?
Estate silver is previously owned. It can be polished by machine to look new.
Is estate silver less expensive than new silver?
Yes, if the pattern is still made. However, rare and obsolete patterns, along with unusual pieces, can be more expensive than new silver.
What determines the price of particular silver pieces?
Collectability and availability of particular patterns or pieces determine price.
What do you charge to repair an item?
Due to the variation in damage of each piece that we repair, there is no set price list. Each item is examined and a repair quote is provided to you for your approval. Due to our years of experience, we can assess the damage and define the repairs needed quickly and efficiently.
What is your delivery schedule?
All work is done by hand, therefore, an exact time of completion is very difficult to predict. We estimate an average of a three- to four-week turnaround. We make every effort to have the work ready for a special occasion, however we ask that you remain flexible so that we can deliver the highest quality of service.
What is the best way to care for my silver?
Tarnish is a chemical reaction between silver and the sulfur in the air. Sulfur, which is the byproduct of combustion, forms a soft black compound called silver sulfide. Tarnish can be removed easily, if not allowed to get too heavy, by using a polish made exclusively for silver.
Most modern silver polishes contain a tarnish preventative, which is a wax used to seal the surface from sulfur. Apply a small amount of polish with a soft cloth or sponge, using a circular motion until clean. Rinse in warm water, not hot or soapy, as these will remove the tarnish preventative. Dry using a soft cloth. There are metal polishes that will clean several different metals, but we do not recommend these, unless the silver is so black that regular silver polish won't do the job. The abrasive is fine, but does not scratch the silver. We feel the abrasive will remove a small amount of the metal along with the tarnish.
Several steps should be taken before silver is placed in storage for a year or more.
- Wash everything in hot soapy water and clean it with silver polish.
- Allow the items stand for a couple of days, lids off or open, so that the items can thoroughly dry.
- Wrap the items in tissue, soft cloths, or silverware bags to prevent scratching.
Wear gloves to prevent the acids on the hands from getting on the silver.
- Place an open plastic trash bag inside a corrugated box and then pack the silver inside.
- Insert a couple of 3M tarnish preventative strips inside the bag and seal it with a twist tie (no rubber bands) as they are very high in sulfur), and close the box.
- List the contents of the box on the top of the box; it is amazing how soon we forget.
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