We have spoken about sterling, Sheffield plate and electroplate silver and some of their characteristics and how to tell the differences among them. Now, we are going to talk about shaping and forming silver into something useful. The first way to give a piece shape is called “raising” or “sinking”. A small silver disk is heated and hammered against a soft surface. Eventually, it is raised from a flat piece to a cup like shape which can become a vessel to hold liquids such as a creamer. Another way to form a shape is by using a flat sheet rolling it into a tapered cylinder and then joining it at the ends with a butt joint or soldering the seam. Silver can be melted down and cast. It can be poured into a mold to create the shape. There is sand and lost wax casting. These are usually done in sectional molds and put together. Hollowware made by casting is heavier and thicker than that made by sheet forming. The underside is often uneven—even rough. The line from the molten metal called a “fin” has been removed on a good quality piece on the feet, handles, spout and edges. Sometimes complex pieces, even antique ones, with multiple parts, like candelabra, will be joined with nuts and bolts rather than solder. Take a look at your tea service. Can you tell which way it was made?