Silver Goblets are probably the most sought after form of mainly decorative stemware for collectors.
They are most commonly made of Sterling Silver, which, in the case of tableware, is silver with a fineness rating of .925, or Silver Plated. This rating means that the alloy is at least 92.5% silver. Other metals may include copper, zinc or others. They are made using a number of processes.
For pure Silver goblets, first the alloy is selected and cast into a mold. This creates the overall shape of the chalice (or cup,) stem and foot. For Silver plated goblets, the overall shape is made from some other metal alloy, and then they are dipped in liquid Silver to achieve the appearance of a true silver goblet.
In either case, at this stage, they are then polished. This can be done exclusively by hand or on a lathe. First the large imperfections are removed using a metal bit or large grit sand paper and they are brought down to a finished surface by successively reducing the grout size of the sand.
For a mirror polish a cloth and rubbing compound must be used. They come in many shapes and sizes and are usually decorated with carvings or engravings and sometimes even cameo or raised casting decorations. These forms of three dimensional decorations are oft accentuated with patina or, in cases of very finely detailed decoration, patinas are used as contrast to bring the workmanship into view.
Inlays are common among silver goblets are may consist of precious metals, precious stones or semi-precious stones. These goblets often have a religious connotation and it is not uncommon to see them used as representations of the Cup of Christ, used in Christian Church Services to dispense the wine that Christians believe to be the Blood of Jesus Christ.
Written by Ryan Staub.