Frequently Asked Questions
Sterling silver contains 925 parts of pure silver to 75 parts copper. Look for the lion passant, which is the part of the hallmark that denotes it is British sterling silver and is a guarantee of its purity. Of course, all Langfords’ new British-made products carry a hallmark. For more details read our blog about understanding hallmarks.
A system of marks impressed on silver or gold items by an assay office with the purpose of establishing its purity. In Britain, the hallmark consists of the assay mark (e.g. the lion passant for .925 pure sterling silver) and other symbols denoting the place of assay, date and maker. With its comprehensive records, the system helps the public to identify items and guard against forgeries. Established at the end of the 14th century, it is the one of the world's oldest and most stringent quality control systems. For more details read our blog about understanding hallmarks.
We sell beautiful silver from all eras – spanning more than 300 years (1700 to the present day). Antique generally refers to items that are more than one hundred years old. We also sponsor good contemporary silver design from Britain, Italy, Denmark and Germany. In addition, Langfords specialises in designing and creating bespoke pieces to suit customers’ exact requirements. Anything from an intimate personal gift to prestigious models and sports trophies.
It depends on your reason for buying silver. In general, you should buy items in the design of the period in which they were made rather than imitations or copies. If you buy silver to use, then pieces from certain periods were made in heavier gauge metal than in other times and are therefore more durable. Workmanship tends to be much better prior to the 20th century because labour was less costly and millions of pounds had been spent on tooling, machinery and dies to create silverware for the rich and aspiring middle class. Having said that, there are many exceptions to the rule and during the 20th century there were periods of extreme activity in designing and creating modern silverware that reflected the age in which they were created. This creativity continues today although it is much more the work of individual silversmiths rather than large business concerns.
Although there are slightly higher and lower grades used to produce silverware around the world, the Sterling silver standard (.925) has proven to be the best. It is the optimum standard that most countries have now migrated to because it combines both malleability and durability. Purer grades of silver wear too quickly and harder grades give an inferior dull colour and cannot be worked into the same fine forms.
Each silver piece is individual and its value is reliant on a number of factors, including the maker, its age, quality and desirability. In the first instance we would recommend that you send clear photos of the piece(s) including a photo of the hallmarks and details of any damage. Contact us so that we can provide a valuation or recommendations for repair.
Our careful packing ensures that your purchases reach you in the same condition they leave our shop, but for extra reassurance, Langfords has its own specialist silver insurance policy so you can be sure that any silver you buy from us is comprehensively covered wherever we send it.
In your home
On request we can provide customers with an insurance valuation for any goods bought from us. Once in the safety of your home, we recognise the need to protect your investment. That’s why we recommend Hiscox* home insurance for sensible and hassle-free policies. Having the peace of mind of fully insured silver will help you to enjoy it all the more.
At Langfords we have more than 80 years’ experience of working with silver and have become one of the most respected dealers in the UK. As members of LAPADA (London & Provincial Antique Dealers Association), our customers can have trust in buying from us knowing that we are backed by the industry’s trade association.
*Langfords receives no remuneration whatsoever from Hiscox. We know from personal experience that they operate with integrity.
The Langford family has been trading as a family-owned and run antique silver business for more than 80 years. Every piece that we sell has been carefully inspected and selected by Adam or Joel Langford and sold in perfect condition. All online purchases are covered by our no-quibble refund policy.
If you want to see, touch or feel any of the products on our website we have a shop at The London Silver Vaults in Chancery Lane, London. We are open Monday to Friday 9.00am to 5.30pm and on Saturdays from 9.00am to 1.00pm. If you are in London, we can visit your office or home with a selection of items to match your brief.
As members of the London & Provincial Antiques Dealers Association (LAPADA) and The London Silver Vaults, all our pieces are guaranteed to be as described plus you have the confidence of knowing that you are protected by the UK’s largest antiques trade association.
We believe we can make almost anything in silver. Whatever you are commissioning, Langfords follows a simple step-by-step process to make commissioning bespoke items simple. Browse our pages to see a small selection of previous bespoke pieces or just get in touch to discuss your ideas.
We aim to give all our customers excellent value for money and our pricing policy is transparent. Volume discounts are available for all Langfords’ customers and the rates vary depending on the size of the order. Please contact us for details.
Most engraving work takes between one and seven days, depending on the quantity and complexity of the design. It is always wise to check with us first.
For gifts and presentations, Langfords can provide gift boxes on request, free of charge, subject to availability. Alternatively, if you would like your gifts wrapped according to your personal specification or according to your company's corporate identity, please contact us for details.
If the item is in stock it will be sent, fully insured, with two days of receiving your order. For specially made pieces, we will advise you of the delivery date at the time of ordering.
We can deliver almost anywhere in the world. Depending on where they are being sent, shipping, insurance and delivery costs for your goods will be confirmed before you place your order. All purchases over £500 are sent free-of-charge.
I don't have time to search for a selection of gifts or visit your shop. Is this something you can handle for me?
Yes, we have a wealth of experience in providing ready-made or bespoke items. Please send us your brief or get in touch if you would like to discuss.
We stock one of the finest and largest collections of antique trophies and centrepieces, and a small selection are shown on our website. Langfords also has a range of new trophies and presentation gifts but if you don't see what you need please contact us for more designs and patterns. Alternatively, we can work with you to devise, design and produce a unique piece to suit your exact requirements.
All our gifts can be personalised and we can produce personalised gift packaging too. The cost is clearly dependent on the quantity and complexity of the work so we will give you a comprehensive quotation when we know the details of your order.
Of course. Langfords is a family-run company and our service is always very personal. We are a popular choice for wedding lists because we sell both antique and contemporary silver for every occasion. In addition, we can provide quality crystal and porcelain from most of the top manufacturers. If preferred, your guests can buy Langfords vouchers online which can be redeemed against any pieces in our shop. For your convenience, all gifts are delivered to you once your list is closed. Please contact us for more details.
The best way to care for silver is to use it often and clean it only occasionally. We provide advice on care and cleaning of your silver and other precious or delicate materials. For large models, trophies and centrepieces that need to be on display for long periods - and especially those with intricate decoration and detail - it is worth considering lacquering to keep them looking bright without polishing. For more details, read our comprehensive silver cleaning guide
Most silver cutlery can be washed in the dishwasher but do not put in antique knives. However, never put bone, ivory or mother-of-pearl handled pieces into the dishwasher. For more details, read our comprehensive silver cleaning guide
It is worth understanding more about your pieces before you decide whether or not to repair it. Its value will rely on a number of factors such as the maker, its age, quality and desirability. In the first instance we would suggest that you send clear photos of the piece(s) showing the damage and including a photo of the hallmarks. Contact us so that, taking into account what damage has occurred, we can advise next actions.
Most knives in antique canteens have not survived. They were originally made with steel blades (not stainless) which deteriorated over time and the blade was set into the silver handle with pitch which also decayed. Replacement knives are often needed therefore to complete antique cutlery sets and Langfords can substitute new knives (with stainless steel blades) for most cutlery patterns. Contact us with the name or a photo of your cutlery pattern and we can give you a quotation.