Sterling Silver Mint Julep Cups – Buying Guide Wholesale and Retail

Sterling silver mint julep cups are iconic in the American South as the traditional drinkware for serving the ever-popular mint julep. Originating in the 1700’s, the mint julep continues popularity through the modern day. It is especially well-known for being the official drink of the Kentucky Derby.

Sterling Silver Mint Julep Cup with 24k Gold Engraved

Mint juleps are traditionally served in fine pewter or sterling silver mint julep cups. Due to the drink’s extreme popularity and its rise as a symbol of the South, mint julep cups have become an elegant gift for commemorating special occasions, events, and accomplishments.

Just as alcohol and fine spirits have exotic and highly-nuanced flavors, the vessels that hold them need to match their extravagance and accentuate their subtleties. Hand-crafted sterling silver mint julep cups fill this role naturally by using the perfect medium to display expert workmanship.

Although unadorned mint julep cups are certainly beautiful, they may not have enough character for a truly exquisite gift. With the options of sterling medallions, diamond engraving, and delicately patterned edges, a beautiful piece can become a bold statement.

Index

Personalized Options

Mint Julep Cup Styles

We make pewter mint julep cups in a variety of styles depending on your own personal preference. Each style displays its own unique aesthetic quality that can be modified further with medallions, engraving, and decorative edging.

Original (PP825/PP826)

Pewter Sterling Silver Mint Julep Cups

Our original mint julep cup is the most common style that all other styles stem from. It features a rolled top lip and slightly slanted, straight sides that drop down to a simple flared base. If you do not have a strong opinion on the specific style, this is the right julep cup for you.

The Original comes in two different sizes: 8 oz and 10 oz. Visit our website to purchase Original Mint Julep Cups.

Carolina Cup (2030)

Carolina Pewter Sterling Silver Mint Julep Cups

The Carolina mint julep cup has a simple design with banding that frames the engraving or medallion in the center. With no base and a square-cut, polished lip, the Carolina typically does not have decorative edging aside from the standard banding.

Check out the Carolina mint julep cup at our online store.

Georgia Cup (2025)

Georgia Pewter Sterling Silver Mint Julep Cups

The Georgia-style mint julep cup pulls inspiration from some aspects of both the Carolina and the Original. Featuring a rolled lip, a necked base, and decorative banding, the Georgia cup presents a larger engraving space than the Carolina.

The rolled lip can be knurled with beaded edging, but the base is typically left unadorned due to the concave necking. The Georgia mint julep cup comes in the standard 8 ounce size.

Check out the Georgia mint julep cup at our online store.

Ice Tea Mint Julep Cup (2027)

Ice Tea Pewter Sterling Silver Mint Julep Cups

Although it is not specifically meant to hold mint juleps, the mint julep’s popularity certainly inspired the ice tea julep cup. At 13 ounces, it is the largest pewter mint julep cup available. It features a long slim body with a square cut lip and no base.

Check out the ice tea mint julep cup at our online store.

Sterling Medallions

Medallions make a striking addition to the side of sterling silver mint julep cup as an eye-catching relief that ties the piece together. Several designs are available in a variety of different styles.

To make your medallion really stand out, consider adding 24k gold plate.

Animal Medallions

Animal Medallions Sterling Silver Mint Julep Cups

Our collection of animal medallions features a hawk, dolphins, or an alligator.

Christmas Medallions

Christmas Medallions Sterling Silver Mint Julep Cups

Our sterling Christmas medallions feature Saint Nicholas, Cherubs, or a Christmas Village.

Diamond Engraving

Custom engraving can be added to dedicate the mint julep cup as a gift for weddings, graduations, and other events. Other possible engravings can include company logos, a family crest, or other pictures.

Diamond engraving uses a diamond, as opposed to a laser, to etch the pattern into the metal. This technique makes the final design look and feel much like hand engraving.

Sterling & Pewter Fine Goods offers several standard fonts of engravings that you can choose from, or the option to send your own if you prefer something specific.

All sterling purchased through our online store comes with free custom engraving!

Options for Engraving:

Monograms

Engraved monograms are made by intertwining three initials into a single picture or crest. The order of the initials in a monogram is typically first name, surname, middle name with the initial of the surname being larger or more distinguished than the other two. For example, John M. Doe would have a monogram of:

Monogram Engraving Options Sterling Silver Mint Julep Cups

Crests/Logos/Emblems

Whether it is a family crest, a company logo, or the emblem of your organization, beautiful pictures and designs can be engraved on pewter and sterling silver mint julep cups to dedicate them as thoughtful, personalized gifts.

To have a picture engraved, simply add a note to your order during the checkout process that you want to engrave an image. You will receive an email with specific instructions on how to send over your picture.

To purchase our sterling silver mint julep cups visit our online store!

Details of an Occasion

Aside from monograms and emblems, any message can be engraved to dedicate the gift. Make sure you remember the size of your mint julep cup before you get too wordy.

Fonts:

Although we can engrave any font or design, we’ve picked out a few of our favorite old english, script, and printed fonts. Palace and Eduardian fonts are both script, but Palace is less flourishing than Eduardian.

We recommend using Palace font when engraving all capital letters (like someone’s initials). Eduardian works best for sentences or written-out names.

Castellar Engraving Font Sterling Silver Mint Julep CupsPalace Script Engraving Font Sterling Silver Mint Julep CupsEduardian Engraving Font Sterling Silver Mint Julep Cups

Old English Engraving Font Sterling Silver Mint Julep Cups

Stylized Edging

The traditional style of mint julep cup from days gone by is a minimalist, rolled lip on the top and bottom.

Knurled Edging Sterling Silver Mint Julep Cups

Today, many julep cups have edges with patterns rolled into them. This adds character and frames the engraving/medallion that makes the centerpiece.

Rose Border on Sterling Silver Mint Julep Cups

Our most sought-after design is a beaded edging, but other patterns like our rose border add a beautiful accent as well.

24K Gold Plate

Nothing complements silver better than gold, and 24k gold plating is a beautiful way to accent sterling silver mint julep cups.

Gold plating uses electricity to deposit a thin layer of 24k gold onto the silver for a rich, vibrant hue.

Sterling Silver Mint Julep Cup with Gold Plated Inside

We currently offer two gold plating options:

  1. Inner Gold Wash – Aside from the aesthetic value, gold plating the inside of your cup also prevents silver tarnish.
  2. Plated Medallion – A gold medallion on a silver backdrop creates stunning contrast.

To purchase our sterling silver mint julep cups visit our online store!

Spotting Quality Sterling Silver Mint Julep Cups

Weight

Silver is a precious metal and an expensive cost component of the finished piece. Sometimes manufacturers cut costs and increase profit margins by using less sterling.

Companies that have prices that seem too good to be true might be using thin silver. Thin, lightweight silver damages easily, can be difficult to engrave, and has an insubstantial feel to it.

To avoid this, compare prices from a few different companies.

Finish

Sterling can be finished (i.e. polished) in one of two ways:

Bright or Mirror Finish for Sterling Silver Mint Julep Cups
1. Bright (also called Mirror)
Satin/Grey/Matte Finish for Sterling Silver Mint Julep Cups
2. Satin (also called Matte or Grey)

Traditionally sterling silver mint julep cups had a bright finish inside and out, but now satin finish on the inside is more popular.

At the microscopic scale, a bright/mirror finish is very smooth. Because it is so reflective it easily shows fingerprints, dust, and other dirt. A satin finish is rougher and not as reflective, so the finish does not need as much maintenance.

For a cup that will hold alcohol or other liquids, sometimes this is preferable on the inside.

To purchase sterling silver mint julep cups visit our online store!

Sterling Silver Patina

Nothing is shinier than brand new sterling, but as a sterling silver goes through its life from new to antique, it develops its own character like a well-worn leather book. One of the hallmarks of a silver story is the patina that develops over time.

Patinas are the result of tarnish being worn down and buffed. Everyday use and cleaning creates a soft warm glow over time. In textured pieces like engraved, cast, or hammered silver, the patina accentuates the design on the metal. Ridges are shined by use, and valleys hold their color.

Patinas will darken over time, starting off as a warm yellow and eventually becoming black on older pieces.

Do not confuse tarnish and patina. Tarnish is the layer of silver sulfide that builds up on the surface of the metal as sulfur in the air oxidizes the silver. Leaving a silver piece alone and unused causes unsightly tarnish to build up like an untrimmed shrubbery.

To combat this, silver is polished, but actually handling and use will develop the patina without extra maintenance.

Sterling Silver vs Pewter – Which to Buy

Although pewter mint julep cups are not as expensive and high class a gift as sterling silver, often the occasion does not warrant so extravagant a piece.

As a metal, pewter is much softer than sterling silver, and it has different properties. As a display piece they are nearly indistinguishable.

Since pewter is a much softer metal that does not tarnish over time like silver, it will stay looking shiny and beautiful in a display case, but it dents easily during daily use.

Sterling silver on the other hand will tarnish if left alone without semi-regular upkeep, especially in moist environments.

Using and washing silver regularly naturally develops the patina, and sterling silver is durable enough to resist damage during daily use.

Wholesale Sterling Silver Mint Julep Cups

If you are a reseller purchasing larger orders to sell in your retail store, you can receive a wholesale discount from Sterling & Pewter Fine Goods. In order to get these discounts, call:

(203) 630-6565

or email:

service@sterlingandpewter.com

Some stores like Empire Silver list wholesale prices for anyone who buys from their website, but don’t be fooled.

The ‘wholesale’ price listed is actually just retail price with no discount. Then they give you a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) to make it feel like you are getting wholesale pricing.

This is a sales tactic and nothing more. You will never find actual wholesale pricing available to the general public.

For wholesale pricing, call up a manufacturer and ask for a list of their wholesale prices. After answering some questions about your retail business, they will be happy to add you as a wholesale customer.

Published by

peterold

Owner of Sterling & Pewter Fine Goods

4 thoughts on “Sterling Silver Mint Julep Cups – Buying Guide Wholesale and Retail”

  1. I have a 1930 set of sterling silver Julep cups heavily tarnished 17.26 t oz how should I clean them and what sort of value should I insure them for thanks

    1. Hi Jim,
      To clean heavily tarnished silver, I would recommend using Goddard’s silver polish foam. It is very simple to use and does a nice job. Once they’re cleaned up a bit, check for any distinguishing marks. If they were made in the 1930’s, there should be either a 925, 925/1000, or sterling stamp on the cups. At today’s value of silver, just the metal in the cups is worth about $255. You can go to online antique stores like Nelson & Nelson Antiques to get an idea of what other antique cups are selling for.

      The real distinguishing characteristic that will determine if your cups are more valuable than normal is the trademark of a specific silversmith. Check for any symbols that are stamped into the cups. If they were made by a notable silversmith, it could add a lot of value to your set. You can check this online directory of silversmiths and their stamps to match the logo to the maker. You can also take a photo of the trademark and post it on the 925-1000 forum to see if other hobbyists/enthusiasts recognize it.

      For a more precise method of appraisal, you could try taking it to antique dealers in your area. Make sure you take it to more than one to see if they’re giving accurate estimates. I hope this helps!

  2. I agree with what you said about alcohol vessels and how they deserve to be as extravagant as the beverages they hold. I would say that sterling silver stirrup cups are great for such a purpose. My uncle wants to buy a stirrup cup that looks like a horse, so I’ll help him find a silver company that can give him a solid deal.

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