Alloy - A substance composed of two or more metals. Sterling is an alloy of silver and copper.
Base Metal - An alloy or metal to which a coating or plating is applied.
Bright Finish - Highly polished, mirror-like finish produced with jeweler's rouge on a polishing wheel.
Buffing - Polishing metal with a flexible, rotating abrasive wheel.
Cast - Formed in a mold.
Chasing - A cold modeling process of ornamenting metal by hand. The design is created by using a small hammer to tap small tools and punches into the metal.
Coin - Silver made by melting down coins in the early 19th Century (900/1,000 parts silver, 100 parts copper).
Cutlery - Implements used on the table, usually called flatware.
Electroplate - Articles consisting of a base metal coated with silver by the process of electrolysis.
Embossing - Creating raised designs on the surface of an object from the reverse side. No metal is removed in the technique that achieves this effect.
Engraving - Cutting lines into metal to articulate a design. Metal is removed for this effect.
Etching - Surface decoration bitten in with nitric acid.
Fine Silver - More than 999/1,000 pure, it's too soft for fabrication and is used mainly in the form of anodes or sheets for plating.
Flatware - Knives, forks, spoons and serving pieces.
Forging - The shaping of metal by heating and hammering.
Hollowware - Hollow serving vessels, including bowls, pitchers, tea pots, etc.
Oxidizing - Oxide application that darkens details of metal where applied.
Patina - Soft luster caused by tiny scratches that come use.
Silverplate - Base metal - usually nickel silver or brass - coated with pure silver by electroplating.
Stamping - Impressing designs from dies into metal with heavy presses.
Sterling Silver - In the U.S., sterling signifies a quality standard defined as 92.5% pure silver.