The use of silver for making items such as candlesticks plates, cutlery and hollow-ware has been in production since silver was first discovered. Yet in the 18th and 19th century the production of silver jewellery items was extremely limited.
It was only from the 1880s that the jewellery production houses started to produce silver jewellery in quantity. Items such as bracelets, brooches, earrings, sovereign & vesta cases, watch chains, collars & lockets, etc. became common place, especially for day wear. In keeping with the romantic Victorian age, lockets were highly sought after to hold a lock of hair or miniature portraiture of a loved one.
After the 1880s the production of silver jewellery was far more prevalent than the production of gold jewellery. Yet today, relatively little antique silver jewellery has survived. The reason is twofold, firstly due to the cost and value of these items, when they broke few people bothered to repair them and secondly during The Great War, governments on both sides sent out the call for precious metal to be donated to the cause. Most people patriotically donated their silver jewellery but tended to hide their gold pieces-just in case. Consequently, very few fine silver pieces have survived to present day. Those that have, command a premium and in some cases are worth as much as their gold counterparts.