2017 - The Use of Scientific Techniques in the Detection of Fake Antique Silver Plate

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2017 - The Use of Scientific Techniques in the Detection of Fake Antique Silver Plate

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The concept of the “Authentication Tripos” is introduced as a methodology for the detection of fake antique silver plate. A tripos is a three-legged stool. In this case, connoisseurship, comparison of hallmarks, and scientific investigation are the metaphors for the three legs. The main scientific techniques used include assaying for identifying use of base metal, silver dating using inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectroscopy (ICP-OES) for identifying additions, X-ray radiography for identifying transposed hallmarks and metrological measurement to determine whether hallmarks are genuine or not. Infamous examples of articles of silver plate identified as fake by the Antique Plate Committee, the world-renowned body for adjudicating on spurious antique plate and run by The Goldsmiths’ Company, are presented. The methods of faking antique silver plate continue to be used in the faking of modern articles of both gold and silver. Some of the recent trends are explored.  

Author: Dr. Robert Organ

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