Your cups appear to be silver plated base metal cups with gilded interiors to the bowl. I do not believe they are sterling.
Thank you, Fred. I'm particularly curious about the process used to create the design. What I'm referring to as a "seam" really looks more to be an excess of silver that was squeezed outward by some sort of pressing/stamping device or mold.
I have a Wm. Rogers & Son compote with a very ornate stem that also has such a seam. Would you be able to tell me how these "seamed" designs are made, and if the seam means that the piece is of lower grade/quality? Thanks.
Clare it is a pleasure to answer your questions because I think you ask with a true desire to learn.
The seam you ask about was probably created by the mold to create the item. The manufacturer should have cleaned up the seam with filing and chasing. You are right in assuming that most of the items with visible seams in castings are poorer quality than those items where the seam is nearly invisible.
The items you have described were both made by the process of casting. The are probably cast in a low temperature metal similar to pewter. They are usually reproductions of items that were originally handmade from sheets and bars of silver and then decorated by a process known as repousse and chasing. Some items are decorated with finely cast fruit or scrolls. It takes a keen eye and visits to museums and high end antique stores to learn to distinguish the good from the bad. There is nothing quite like being able to handle well made items and to be able to use them for the purpose they were made.
Hope this helps,
Very much. My investigations into the world of silversmithing, thanks to these cups, has left me with a great respect for the intricacies of your art.
Thanks so much for taking the time and interest to respond. --Clare