60-Second Silver: Heed these tips to remove monograms

A monogram is part an object’s history and unique to that piece. Removing engraving does not always make a piece more salable, especially if the engraving is of high quality, which is rarely seen today.

Some tips for those debating whether or not to have engraving removed:

1. If it is a tray or hollow piece, rub your fingernail under or inside to determine if the metal is thick enough to have the engraving removed. If you see a slight wave as you move your fingernail, the piece is probably too thin. Remember, if the engraving is removed you run the risk of caving in that area. Can you imagine setting a coffee pot on a footed salver and having it sink into the center?

2. If you have never used a repair service, test the reliability of the silversmith with a small piece of damaged silver flatware first. A competent smith will do a great job or say the repair will not be attempted at all.

3. If engraving is removed from a hollow form or tray and you would like it re-engraved, have it done in an area where the material is thicker. An engraved area, especially on a thin piece, will be weak.

If you must have engraving removed, take the piece to a competent silversmith, otherwise it may be ruined and the piece devalued. Engraving that has been expertly removed will be undetectable on the surface. Upon removal of deep engraving, on a coffee pot for example, the metal may have to be pushed out from the inside to develop a level surface. ?

Jeffrey Herman encourages anyone with silver-related questions that can’t be answered on his Web site hermansilver.com to contact him. He may be reached at 800-339-0417or jeff@hermansilver.com or at PO Box 786, West Warwick, RI 02893.

Jeffrey Herman started Herman Silver Restoration & Conservation in 1984, and has repaired and reconstructed everything from historically important tankards, tea services, and tureens to disposal-damaged flatware. Herman has worked at Gorham as a designer, sample maker, and technical illustrator and at Pilz Ltd., where he learned the fine art of restoration. Herman has a BFA degree in silversmithing and is the founder of the Society of American Silversmiths.


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