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Theda Sterling Silver Medals, Crosses, Jewelry Q&A

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! Hi, my name is Art and aways back, probably in the 80's, I found this medallion in the dirt. It DOES say 'sterling theda' on the back but I was unable to capture that in a pic it was so small and worn. You can tell from where this would attach to a chain it was worn for a very long time.


I would never sell this and know as a medallion it's not worth much. I know it will never happen but I would gladly give this back to the owner if I met him or her :-)

Art Garwood
- West Palm Beach Florida
November 10, 2023

Q. I have a sterling theda heart with a cross; the chain is not silver, just a chain. Wow this is interesting. Now don't know if I can load photo or not but that's what I have and have not seen it shown here. Any suggestions?

rick weaver
- republic, Washington
June 3, 2024

A. Hi Rick. You can attach a photo in email to if you want it posted, or you can look for similar items on eBay

Theda silver hearts with crosses on eBay (affil. link)]

Luck & Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

⇩ Related postings, oldest first ⇩

"American Jewelry Manufacturers"
by Dorothy T. Rainwater
on AbeBooks

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(affil links)

"Jewelry Identification and Price Guide"
by Warman
on AbeBooks

or eBay or


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Q. I received a simple "silver" cross as a birthday gift from sister way back in the 70's. It is stamped "Sterling Theda" on the back. Since we were both college students at the time, I assumed that this meant that it was some type of ersatz silver-looking substitute that contained some silver. However, I did understand that the term "sterling" implied a guaranteed % of real silver. Over the years it blackened slightly at the edges that wore against my chest. After recently ruining the previously replaced chain by using pure sulfur soap on my face in the shower, my wife took it to a jewelry store who cleaned it free of charge to the original shiny silver appearances of both chain & cross. Now I noticed that the edges are blackening slightly again. I became curious as to what exactly "theda" meant/was. A search of the internet did not reveal a definitive description but some descriptions of old jewelry for sale on eBay seemed to make the connection with Rhodium by stating that the piece for sale was stamped "Sterling Theda" on the back & including "rhodium coated" in the description.
What is the derivation of the stamp "Sterling Theda" on the back of jewelry? Is it Rhodium-coated sterling silver? Is "Theda" a proprietary term used by one company years ago?

Rich Schur
Personal - Phoenix, Arizona, USA
April 25, 2010

A. Rich,
Theda is a brand name made by the Ideal Mfg Co. in Providence R.I. The company started doing business in 1921. It very well may be an art deco piece. Sterling was sometimes used as a hallmark in the US instead of .925 (fineness). My best guess is that it is sterling silver, otherwise it would be stamped "silverplate". As far as the cross turning black on the edges, may have to do with your body chemistry.

Mark Baker
process engineer - Malone, New York

thumbs up sign Thanks, Mark.

Rich Schur [returning]
- Phoenix, Arizona, USA

Q. My name is Lawrence, I have a similar piece of jewelry that is a cross within a cross. And it is stamped "Sterling Theda" as well. I am curious if someone could help me figure out it's age and origin. I would very much appreciate it. Thank you for your time and consideration in this matter.

54890-1b   54890-1a

Lawrence Lowrie
- Higbee, Missouri
March 4, 2019

A. Hi Lawrence. These are often on eBay in the $25 to $50 asking price range.

Theda silver crucifix on eBay (affil. link)]

It can't be older than 1921 since Mark tells us that's when Theda was started. Sorry, I don't know additional history.


pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

Q. I also have a piece that was given to me with the STERLING THEDA printed on the back. My grandmother's partner passed in 2006 and she told me to take it, it was in his jewelry bowl. Any clues?

54890-2b   54890-2a  

Gina Raimo
- Philadelphia Pennsylvania USA
July 19, 2020

A. Hi Gina. There are usually a number of Theda sterling St. Christopher medals on eBay from about $4 to about $95.

Theda silver Saint Christopher medals on eBay (affil. link)]

When I was in catholic grammar school in the 1950s lots of kids, and sometimes their parents, wore St. Christopher, Crucifix, or "Miraculous Medal" things like that on a chain around their neck. I didn't pay attention at the time, but apparently Theda made most of them. Although they are 60+ years old, they were so common that the odds of any of them selling for over $100 seem slim ... but I think yours is prettier than most, so enjoy it :-)

Luck & Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

Q. I acquired this pendant at an estate sale today. It's marked 'sterling theda' on the reverse. I believe the front has Marcasite points on it.

Theda sterling sterling cross

Any feedback is welcomed on this piece. Thank you.

Dianne Montague
Hobbyist - Winnipeg, MB, Canada
April 1, 2022

Q. I have a piece of my late Mom's jewelry that I believe (through my research) to be a Sterling Silver Marcasite Rose and necklace. But my main question is that it is stamped on the TER THEDA with the THEDA below the TER.
It doesn't look as though any letters (such as S_ _ _ LING) are missing. The pendant is like brand new. Is this indicative of a Sterling Silver abbreviation?

54890-4b 54890-4a

Thank you for your help.

Charlie Chimento
- Pittston, Pennsylvania
October 19, 2022

A. Hi, Charlie. No it's not a recognized abbreviation.

But I've poorly stamped return addresses on envelopes and endorsements on checks many times, and I suspect that metal stampers occasionally suffer the same errors as rubber stamps :-)

Luck & Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

thumbs up sign Ted,
Thank you for your speedy response although it was not the one I was looking for! lol
I appreciate you getting back to be so quickly.

Best regards,

Charlie Chimento [returning]
- Pittston, Pennsylvania

Q. Hi everyone. Found this piece metal detecting.

54890-5b   54890-5a  

Found out Theda meant it was made by the Ideal Mfg. Co. based out of Providence Rhode Island. I know the company was formed in 1921 and dissolved in 1994. Just curious if there was some way to figure out a date range based on the item. 60's, 70's etc.

Rob McNeill
- Red Deer, Alberta, Canada
January 11, 2023

A. Hi Rob. I wore one much like it in grammar school in the fifties.
Luck & Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

Q. I purchased an old army bag from a thrift store. When I got home and took a look at it I found a a crucifix and chain in the bottom of the bag. It looks to be old; all I want to ask anybody if they had any information on it.

54890-6b   54890-6a  

Chad Davis
Contractor - North Carolina
March 4, 2023

A. Hi Chad. It's stamped "Sterling Theda" so the other comments about sterling and about the Theda company apply.
Because it's sterling, a "We Buy Gold" store would probably offer two or three dollars for it, maybe a bit more if the chain is sterling/
I suppose it always possible that some piece of Theda sterling jewelry out there might be substantially valuable, but appraisal services aren't free and there are always hundreds of similar pieces on eBay , offered in the $5 to $25 range. Luck & Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

thumbs up sign Thanks for Your quick response.
I'm going to keep it, I just thought there was a makers mark of some sort, but it's possible an indentation.

Chad Davis [returning]
Contractor - North Carolina
March 4, 2023

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