The Allure of Sterling Silver Accessories

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Gold may be having its heyday in the markets right now, but silver still holds an unmistakable sway over man. The English are renowned for their penchant of silver collecting and companies like Tiffany have built their reputations on it. Silver, sterling silver in particular – which is nice parts silver to one part copper – has a personality and warmth that is difficult to deny.

The scratches and nicks which over time come to define silver objects tell their own story; the patina softens and takes on a unique personality. This trait makes sterling silver an excellent material for special and cherished items. Unlike gold which can seem ostentatious and showy, silver is approachable and more relaxed, perfect for the treasured accessories in your life.

Because I like to travel light whenever possible, a money clip or pen knife is about all I want in my pants pocket. Such personal objects should never be disposable; they are with us each day and become talismans that grow in value beyond currency. Rather than shove spare cash into your pocket or toss any old pen into your bag, why not consider investing in one or two elegant little treasures that have meaning?

For those loose bills, opt for a sterling money clip; add a monogram and make it an heirloom. Yard-O-Lead makes some wonderful sterling silver pens that will stand out from the conference table crowd – the Viceroy is a favorite model of mine.

Sterling cufflinks are an obvious option. Silver knots or classic monogrammed ovals are always in style. Another wonderful use of sterling is the classic monogrammed engine turned belt buckle. Paired with an alligator strap, there is nothing quite as elegant.  For smokers, or merely those wish to be prepared for a chivalrous flourish, a silver Dunhill lighter is indispensible.

Other individualistic options include the silver tie bar, once an obligatory sartorial tool and now enjoying a resurgence of sorts. And, as long as you don’t let it look like a building superintendent’s, a simple silver key chain makes a functional utensil a little more stylish.

A silver card case can be quite sharp and I’ve seen a few people use vintage cigarette cases to hold their business or calling cards. Match the case to your own personality and tastes – either very elaborate or simple in design.

Silver, I know, is not everyone’s cup of tea. To my mind, there are silver people and there are gold people. Usually, it’s fairly easy to figure out who is who; for example, I am a silver person. Apart from a general love of sterling, when it comes to personal accessories, I naturally lean toward silver and stainless steel.

Most of my watches are stainless steel and my wedding band is platinum. Through frameless, the small amount of metal on my glasses is silver colored. I just prefer silver more than gold – the one exception being my signet ring. Bearing my family’s crest, it is my one regular gold accessory.

It’s not like I’d turn down some gold cufflinks or a vintage gold Seamaster, but as a general rule, I find it too showy and formal for my taste. I have inherited a number of lovely gold items – cufflinks and notably a wonderful pocketknife that once belonged to my great grandfather. They are special to me because of their personal connection, but when I look to my current wish list, sterling silver is still where my heart’s at.


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Chris Hogan, an association executive based in Washington, D.C., blogs at OffTheCuffDC.com. A lifelong interest in style and clothing led to sales and management positions at several Ralph Lauren stores and an active wardrobe consulting practice