Due to the unprecedented Coronavirus situation, all exhibitions and events are likely to be cancelled or postponed. Please check with the relevant website to find out the latest situation.

The matter of silver: substance, surface, shimmer, trauma

British Academy Conferences – Free conference

26-28 July 2021, 13.30-16.00

British Academy Conferences
 bring together scholars and specialists from around the world to consider and evaluate new research in the humanities and social sciences.

How and why did silver, more widespread than gold, extracted by force from the Andes, marked by trauma, become par excellence marker of and substance of social, political and spiritual refinement in Europe? This conference investigates silver as more than means or measure of empire, more than mere currency of emergent capitalism, more than inert matter from which luxury objects were fashioned, to ask how might these disparate stories, these two sides to the same coin, be brought together. What happens when we think them in relation?

This conference brings together scholars and practitioners from across the humanities, social sciences, sciences, and institutions beyond the academy, including museums and galleries, to explore silver as an extraordinarily productive site of exchange and transformation in the early modern world and beyond.

Diverse expertise, currently siloed in institutional and disciplinary terms, examines silver and its impact politically, socially, ecologically, territorially, technically, artistically, and economically and yet that expertise has not been brought together in cross-fertilisation. Economic experts tend to view silver in quantitative terms; Latin Americanists concerned with silver’s role in colonialism on one side of the Atlantic ignore entirely its role in Spanish colonialism in Europe; curators tend to approach individual objects without reference to the new materialism or recent historical research in artisanal knowledge; art historians explore silver high-end objects without reference to silver’s extraction; mining specialists ignore silver’s convulsive impact on the commodity frontier and its ecological and social impact across the world. The time is ripe to bring together disparate expertise and to think about silver outside and across traditional formations.

Designs on Silver exhibition
 Goldsmiths’ Fair has launched a new exhibition.

Designs on SilverDesign drawings reveal a maker thinking aloud. Shown alongside the objects they inspire, they can offer an insight into the creative process. This exhibition aims to reveal how a maker explores a range of possibilities through sketches of source material; how they find a motif, or translate or abstract a theme into silver. All the pieces in the exhibition are from The Goldsmiths’ Company’s Collection. The Collection supports makers through acquisitions and commissions that demonstrate the latest in creativity and craftsmanship in precious metals. Many of these are made through the annual Goldsmiths’ Fair.
Visit the Exhibition


On now until Sunday, 12 September 2021

Exploring 5,000 years of art, design and culture, Epic Iran shines a light on one of the greatest historic civilisations, its journey into the 21st century and its monumental artistic achievements, which remain unknown to many.


Tuesday 26 October 6pm   Zoom

SJH is delighted to invite Silver Society Members:  Registration details nearer the time. 

Crossing paths with the prehistoric craftsman: learning and experimenting with ancient jewellery of the Aegean region and its influence on me and my work – Akis Goumas

Akis Goumas is an award-winning Athenian jeweller, gemmologist and researcher in ancient goldsmithing techniques of the Aegean region. He is a member of a multidisciplinary group of archaeologists, archaeological scientists and conservators studying different categories of ancient metalwork, including prehistoric metal technologies of the Aegean region, working at the National Archaeological Museum of Athens and the Cycladic Museum of Art, and Hellenistic goldsmithing techniques at the Benaki Museum of Athens. In this talk he will describe some of the investigations he has taken part in and also show how his own jewellery and designs have been greatly influenced by this research.

From February 2020 Society of Antiquaries

The Society of Antiquaries have now opened up their Ordinary Meetings/Evening Lectures to non-fellows.  20 places are available at each event at only £5 including refreshments.

For bookings and details please see which also gives details of one-off conferences.