How to Interpret Egyptian Silver Markings

Written by mike marcoe
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How to Interpret Egyptian Silver Markings
Silver markings have historical and cultural value (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

Interpreting Egyptian silver markings can be fun and rewarding if you have the appropriate books and motivation to do some research and learning. Although you may need to purchase some additional books or rent them from your local public library to do so, eventually you will be able to interpret the hallmarks and markings on the Egyptian silver items, adding to the historical and potential antique value of the Egyptian silver items that you have identified and interpreted.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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Things you need

  • Silver jewellery polishing cloth
  • Jewellery magnifier or loupe
  • Pen and paper
  • Arabic-English pocket guide
  • Silver information and identification book

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  1. 1

    Polish the hallmark area of the silver item that you are going to be identifying with the jewellery polishing cloth.

  2. 2

    Look at the silver hallmarks that are on the Egyptian silver item with the magnifier or jewellery loupe.

  3. 3

    Write down or copy the style of the Egyptian silver hallmarks onto the piece of paper. Make notes about any character similarities, styles, and descriptions if hallmarks seem to be symbolic rather than written words or numbers.

  4. 4

    Look in the Arabic-English pocket guide to match the word and number symbols from the Egyptian silver item with any of the alphabetic and numerical references shown in the Arabic pocket guide. Write down what the Arabic numeric symbols or alphabetic letters and words mean in English on a piece of paper.

  5. 5

    Look in a Middle Eastern Arabic silver information and identification book to see what information you can glean about the Egyptian silver item that you are trying to identify and make notes about it. Look online to see if the hallmarks listed represent any of those that appear on your Egyptian silver item, and make notes. You should now be able to interpret what the silver hallmarks on the Egyptian silver item are saying. To translate the actual meaning of the hallmarks, you will want to do a little more research and reading in the books and research materials that you have.

Tips and warnings

  • The more research you perform about the Egyptian silver item, the more likely you are to find information about it. Take your time, and don't lose patience; you will learn interesting information about the Middle East and the Arabic language in the process.
  • Although many silver items from Egypt are supposed to be hallmarked, there are numerous silver items made in and around the Middle East by various tribes that might not be hallmarked. An unmarked item does not necessarily mean that an item is not silver; however; you might need to purchase an acid-testing kit or perform additional tests to identify an item's silver content.

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