Many silver luxury items in Colonial America were imported from Europe, but by the late 17th century American silversmiths began producing spoons, tankards, and tea services for domestic use and display, many of which emulated the aesthetics of British and Northern European design and ornament. The Tariff of 1842 imposed heavy taxes on imported goods to America, such as silver, which, along with a flourishing economy following the Civil War and an increase in the demand for elegant dining silverware, led to an increase in production. As the industry grew from local workshops to large factories, American silver manufacturers, such as Kirk & Sons and Tiffany & Company were established.
During this time the role of the designer became more important in silversmithing. The prestigious New York jewelry firm Tiffany & Co. originally founded in 1837 by Charles Louis Tiffany (whose son, Louis Comfort Tiffany, became renowned for his glasswork and jewelry) employed a succession of highly influential and skilled designers, and soon became well known for creating beautiful pieces, whose elegant and timeless designs continue to remain popular even today.