Decorative silver is commonly associated with old and antique ware, as in the past most collectors have been investing in early pieces.

This interest for Renaissance and Baroque styles brought revivals into fashion. This tendency is considered typical of the 19th century, but continued in the Edwardian period and even after, when in England important firms such as Carrington & Co, Crichton Brothers, Barnard & Sons, Comyns & Sons, Vander, Mappin & Webb, Walker & Hall and others produced a large quantity of good quality 17th, 18th and 19th century replicas.

But the most peculiar feature of 20th century silver is the success of Art Deco forms, popularized by luxury retailers and manufacturers (Asprey in England, Tiffany in America and Cartier in France).

In the second half of the century key-members of the post-war school of silver such as Gerald Benney and Stuart Devlin in Britain and George Jensen in Scandinavia took inspiration from Modernism and abstract art, echoing the simpler and stylish forms of the Art Deco period and experimenting with new materials, enamel techniques and textures.