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, this refreshing, bourbon-based cocktail was once reserved as an indulgence for the elite, as few had access to ice and proper drinkware.
The mint julep continues to be popular through the modern day, being especially well-known as the official drink of the Kentucky Derby.
Mint juleps are traditionally served in a fine pewter or sterling silver mint julep cup. 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.
- Mint Julep Cup Styles
- Personalized Options
- Spotting Quality Sterling
- Sterling vs Pewter – Which to Buy
- Wholesale Sterling Silver Mint Julep Cups
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.
Kentucky Mint Julep Cup (PP825/PP826)
Our original Kentucky 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.
Kentucky Mint Julep Cup (2028)
Our Kentucky Julep Cup is a Preisner Silver design inspired by the works of popular Kentucky silver smiths like Asa Blanchard, Archibald Cooper, and William Cooper. The sides feature a milder taper than other designs. The slightly taller base elevates the cup and balances the wider rim above.
Check out the Kentucky mint julep cup at our online store.
Georgia Julep Cup (2025)
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.
Preisner Mint Julep Cup (2029)
The Preisner mint julep cup uses a similar base as the ever-popular Kentucky mint julep cup, but it deviates stylistically with a tall, slender taper and a petite feel. As the name suggests, this julep cup comes from our line of Preisner Silver designed by the late Ben Preisner, dating back to the mid 1900s.
Check out the Preisner mint julep cup at our online store.
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.
Our collection of animal medallions features a hawk, dolphins, or an alligator.
Our sterling Christmas medallions feature Saint Nicholas, Cherubs, or a Christmas Village.
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.
Oldani Brothers 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:
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:
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, and 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.
The traditional style of mint julep cup from days gone by is a minimalist, rolled lip on the top and bottom.
Today, many julep cups have edges with patterns rolled into them in order to add character or frame the engraving/medallion that makes the centerpiece.
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 a sterling silver julep cup.
Gold plating uses electricity to deposit a very thin layer of 24k gold onto the silver for a rich, vibrant hue.
We currently offer two gold plating options:
- Inner Gold Wash - Aside from the aesthetic value, gold plating the inside of your cup also prevents silver tarnish.
- Plated Medallion - A gold medallion on a silver backdrop creates stunning contrast.
Spotting Quality Sterling Silver Mint Julep Cups
Silver is a precious metal and an expensive cost component of the finished piece, so sometimes manufacturers cut costs and increase profit margins by using less sterling.
When the weight is not listed in the description and the price seems too good it is a possible indication that the product is made of thin silver. Thin, lightweight silver is easily damaged, may be difficult to engrave without showing through, and doesn't feel solid.
To avoid this, compare prices and weights from a few different companies.
The finish on sterling refers to the way it is polished, and it can be done in two ways:
Traditionally silver cups were finished bright inside and out, but it is becoming more popular to satin finish the inside.
At the microscopic scale, bright or mirror finish is very smooth, and 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.
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.
A patina is the result of tarnish being worn down and buffed by everyday use and cleaning until it creates a soft warm glow. In textured pieces like engraved or hammered silver, a patina accentuates the design on the metal as the ridges are shined by use and the valleys hold their color.
Patinas will darken over time, starting off as a warm yellow and eventually becoming black on older pieces.
Tarnish and patina should not be confused. Tarnish is the layer of silver sulfide that builds up on the surface of the metal as sulfur in the air oxidizes the silver. If a silver piece is left alone and unused, tarnish can be unsightly like an untrimmed shrubbery.
To combat this, silver is kept polished, but actually if it is handled and used regularly enough, it will hold its own shine 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 has different properties, but 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 will naturally keep it clean of tarnish and develop the patina, and sterling is durable enough that it is not as likely to be damaged 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. In order to get these discounts, call:
Although some stores like Empire Silver offer a wholesale price to anyone who buys through their website, 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’re 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.
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!
I recently ordered two silver Julep Cups for my wife’s and my 25th wedding anniversary. YOU HIT IT OUT OF THE PARK! Thank you so much for offering (and DELIVERING!) such quality! Words cannot convey my happiness. I hope YOU (AND ALL OF YOUR TEAM) are happy with your work; I CERTAINLY am.
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.
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