This craft began during the 18th century with the emergence of three kinds of skilled workers of precious metals. First there was the shirogane-shi, who fashioned articles that were then skillfully chased by masters of this technique; and then there were skilled metal workers who made such things as combs, hairpins (kanzashi) and the decorative metal fittings for the portable shrines or mikoshi.
The gold and silver mints in Edo contributed significantly to raising the level of skills of such artisans. Moreover, Edo was the center of politics, finance and culture, and were feudal lords were required to live for long periods. Consequently, silversmithery in particular developed with their patronage. Nowadays, many fine articles are being produced, mostly to traditional patterns.
A confluence of so many skills, Tokyo Ginki is of the highest quality, the epitome of beauty and durable besides. Also, because it is not made of a harmful substance, it can be used for so many kinds of containers, ornaments and other everyday household articles. Both wrought and chased articles are made. There are silver tea caddies, sake flasks, flower vases, ornaments and many other small household articles being made.
Tokyo ginki could be said to capture the true essence of metal working. It produces elegant and long-lasting products, and because silver is completely safe, the products are found in all aspects of daily life: utensils, household ornaments and knick-knacks, and personal accessories. Tokyo ginki includes both hammered silver products and those with engraved patterns and designs.
How to make
A pure silver bar is first hammered into the desired shape, and then decorative patterns are applied. Decorative hammered patterns include rounded-hammer patterns, rush-mat patterns and rock-like textures. A chisel is also used to apply carved and engraved decorations to the silver.