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Vintage Silver Overlay on Glass
Silver Five o'clock Teaspoons

Vintage Silver Overlay on Glass

Silver overlay on glass is a design in silver that is “electroplated” onto the glass using one of several electrolytic techniques. Like all silver, the design tarnishes and becomes black in time. It is easy to miss a lovely piece of vintage silver overlay because the silver looks black and uninteresting. The silver can be very thin and is sometimes called “silver deposit glass“. Or it can be quite thick and even suitable for engraving.

The origins of silver overlay lie in the 19th century, but who was the first to think of using electrolysis to coat glass with silver is still a mystery. There were several patents for using electroplating techniques on glass registered from the 1870’s onwards.  There have been some very beautiful items produced with silver overlay designs. They were made in volume in England, the USA, Bohemia, Italy (Venice) and no doubt smaller amounts came from many other places. It was popular until the second world war, but a small amount continues to be produced.

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