One of the most useful metals for ceremonial or personal use is silver. From the early times, the English with some help from German immigrants influenced the standard “Sterling” or “Easterling.” Many of the methods of regulating the manufacture and dating silver with hallmarks are directly traced back to this influence along with the development of silver guilds and fraternities.
The sterling standard is .925 (parts out of 1000) with other standards of .800 or lower depending upon the usage. Efforts to duplicate the look of sterling led to Sheffield silver that is the lamination of silver over copper and many lesser processes with names such as EPNS (electroplate nickel silver), German silver, silverplate, A1, quadruple plate and many others. True sterling will be marked as such or with the appropriated country hallmarks with combinations providing the name of the maker, year of manufacture or other data.