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Basic Information

A silversmith (also known as a brightsmith) is, unsurprisingly, a smith who specialises in working silver.

Historically these smiths were mainly concerned with making jewelry and/or ornaments and tableware for the higher end of the market. In fantasy or speculative fiction they may have a subsidiary role as a weaponsmith where silver acts as a form of phlebotinum that is effective against specific supernatural enemies (such as lycanthropes).

Technically a silver smith might also strike coins for a specii currency, but this was almost always a job reserved to specialised government mints. Of course in a setting where relatively small institutions have the authority to strike their own coins, a local smith might well be contracted, especially if it were a relatively infrequent occurence.

For much of history, the silversmith and the goldsmith were one and the same since the rarity of gold would have meant very little day to day demand.


1. full source reference

Game and Story Use

  • The silversmith might be an alternative to the money changer if you have some silver coinage to dispose of that isn't legal tender where you are.
  • He will also be expected to trade in silverware (indeed he may have a guild monopoly on it in some eras) and would be a sensible (or possibly compulsory) place to try and sell the non-coinage silver fraction of your treasure.
  • Likewise, PCs needing silver weapons or bullets might need to contract a silversmith. In some settings this might well lead to a call to the police or mental health services if mishandled.
  • More prosaically, a silversmith might be contracted to decorate something with silver tracery, plating or the like.
  • Pieces of silver plate were common gifts for much of history - whether for baptisms, weddings and similar sacraments or as a "thank you" to benefactors: for example quite a few naval captains received pieces (or even entire services) of plate from merchant companies after saving a ship, convoy or business partner from pirates or commerce raiders.
  • A silversmith should probably be expected to be relatively wealthy and therefore a significant figure in a pre-modern community. Thus a source of employment for PCs, one way or another.
  • He may also be a little corrupt - silver adulterated with tin might be at the basis of a number of mysteries, from missing tin, through the murder of indiscrete apprentices, to depleted phlebotinum shells that fail to do anything beyond annoying their target.
    • Note that some "adulteration" of the silver - more politely referred to as "alloying" - is usually necessary to make practical silverware as pure silver is too soft to make, for example, cutlery that can survive contact with dinner. Where a "mysteries of the guild" approach is in play adulteration and rumours thereof may be hard to work around. Proof-houses were established for a reason.
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