Italian silver is used for various works of silver, from jewelry to coffee mugs. Rather than being a specific type of silver, though, Italian silver is characterized as a brand or make, signified by Italian craftsmanship.
Italian silver is very valuable because of its superior craftsmanship and rarity. It has been a major aspect of the silver industry since the early 1870s.
Italy first unified in 1870, with the conquest of Rome and the fall of the Papal State. At that time, the government of Italy introduced a form of hallmarking to identify any silver piece created in Italy.
Italian silver is necessarily created in the nation of Italy. Pieces are not marked by specific regions of the country, however, but rather by the silversmith that worked the piece.
Italian silver is always stamped with a government-approved mark to identify it as approved Italian silver. This mark includes two parts: different variations of a woman's profile and a stamp that signifies how pure the silver is (800 to signify 800/1000 purity, for example).
Italian silver is used most often for quality silver jewelry, artwork, sculptures and even utensils.