Silver: Heirlooms From the Collection Exhibition

1 Tennyson St, Napier

Update: The Government's announcement last 22 March means we have had to close our doors. We're sorry we won't be able to welcome you into the museum in the coming weeks, but your health and wellbeing is paramount. Meanwhile you can still enjoy some of the region's taonga online. Let's stay home, stay safe and do everything possible to beat this terrible disease.

Kia kaha.

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Silver, valued for its rarity and attractive lustre, has for centuries been mined and formed into an extensive range of domestic, personal, religious, and ceremonial objects.

Silver is one of the most versatile and singular precious metals: it is malleable and ductile and has a relatively low melting point, meaning that it can be cast using basic workshop equipment. Pure silver is too soft for making wrought objects, so it is alloyed with small amounts of other metals, including copper, to harden it.

A virtually indestructible material, it was often melted down and refashioned when convention dictated change or during periods of war and economic uncertainty when silver artefacts were converted to bullion or coinage.

Silver can be shaped, decorated and embellished using an extraordinarily diverse range of techniques, from raising and casting to chasing, embossing, engraving, gilding, and piercing.

In the mid-18th century, the production of silverware was revolutionized by the invention of Sheffield plate, made by fusing silver with copper.

This was followed by the introduction of electroplating in the 1840s: a process used to apply very thin coatings of pure silver over a base metal by means of an electric current producing a brilliant surface.

Being a precious metal, silver has always expressed wealth and status. In Britain, to protect the consumer, all luxury articles made of silver or silver gilt were required by law to carry a series of hallmarks: during the nineteenth century, silver items were stamped with a hallmark, a date letter, a maker’s mark, and a silver quality mark.

In Australia and New Zealand law, hallmarking of silver objects has never been required, so makers devised their own marks to give a personal guarantee that the quality was of sterling standard. When a firm’s management changed, the old punches were discarded and a new version was brought into use.

When

Tue 26th May 2020, 9:30am

Wed 27th May 2020, 9:30am

Thu 28th May 2020, 9:30am

Fri 29th May 2020, 9:30am

Sat 30th May 2020, 9:30am

Sun 31st May 2020, 9:30am

Mon 1st Jun 2020, 9:30am

Tue 2nd Jun 2020, 9:30am

Wed 3rd Jun 2020, 9:30am

Thu 4th Jun 2020, 9:30am

Fri 5th Jun 2020, 9:30am

Sat 6th Jun 2020, 9:30am

Sun 7th Jun 2020, 9:30am

Mon 8th Jun 2020, 9:30am

Tue 9th Jun 2020, 9:30am

Wed 10th Jun 2020, 9:30am

Thu 11th Jun 2020, 9:30am

Fri 12th Jun 2020, 9:30am

Sat 13th Jun 2020, 9:30am

Sun 14th Jun 2020, 9:30am

Mon 15th Jun 2020, 9:30am

Tue 16th Jun 2020, 9:30am

Wed 17th Jun 2020, 9:30am

Thu 18th Jun 2020, 9:30am

Fri 19th Jun 2020, 9:30am

Sat 20th Jun 2020, 9:30am

Sun 21st Jun 2020, 9:30am

Mon 22nd Jun 2020, 9:30am

Tue 23rd Jun 2020, 9:30am

Wed 24th Jun 2020, 9:30am

Thu 25th Jun 2020, 9:30am

Fri 26th Jun 2020, 9:30am

Sat 27th Jun 2020, 9:30am

Sun 28th Jun 2020, 9:30am

Mon 29th Jun 2020, 9:30am

Tue 30th Jun 2020, 9:30am

Wed 1st Jul 2020, 9:30am

Where

MTG Hawke's Bay, Napier, Hawke's Bay / Gisborne

1 Tennyson St, Napier