You’ve heard the old adage “all that glitters in not gold” ― and that rings true for Mary Porter, aka The Silver Lady. For more than 30 years, her world has been filled with shimmering, gleaming, almost blinding sterling silver instead. During Round Top antique show weeks, you’ll find her booth in the Peck Barn at The Compound.

The owner of Indian Creek Antiques comes loaded for bear with silver service sets, bowls, trays, historic items and stunning decorative pieces ― you name it. You’ll get lost exploring vast bins of flatware, organized by maker and silver pattern, ready to fill in a family’s silver set that is missing a teaspoon, or a couple of salad forks. Indian Creek Antiques specializes in matching those hard to find patterns.

“I started collecting silver when we lived in Austin in the mid 1980s. I was a docent at the Governor’s Mansion, and served as President of the Heritage Society,” Mary Porter tells about the beginnings of her silver obsession.

The beauty and charm of sterling silver are hard to resist at Indian Creek Antique’s booth inside The Compound. (Photo by Courtney Dabney)

Along with Round Top, Mary Porter and her husband John (a retired physicist) sell at other antique shows around Texas. The journey began many years ago with a little booth in Lockhart Antique Mall. They’ve been Round Top regulars ever since 2000, and this is their sixth year at The Compound.

Looking for something specific? Need help identifying a pattern you inherited? You can simply send Porter pictures, including any hallmarks, and she will happily help you out. Though Porter doesn’t have a year-round shop to visit, you can always find her vast selection and avail yourself of her expertise online.

Indian Creek Antiques has over 1000 patterns to keep track of. (Photo by Courtney Dabney)

After all, it can be confusing. It wasn’t until about 1895 that American silver manufacturers were required to mark their sterling silver items with the word “Sterling.” Before that, some items were marked and others were not. Older pieces (prior to the 1890s) were often simply marked 925 to indicate 92.5 percent silver content.

“People are now utilizing mixed patterns of silver-plate as their everyday flatware. Some people even come to me in search of tarnished pieces,” Porter laughs.

You will not find anything tarnished in Indian Creeks collection. Porter simply cannot stomach it.

“I’m often asked what my favorite patter is,” Porter says. “I don’t really have a favorite. I just enjoy connecting people with family history, as well as cleaning and restoring pieces — returning them to good condition.”

Indian Creek stocks sterling, silverplate, coin silver and stainless patterns by most of the American sterling silver makers. There are more than 1000 patterns to keep track of. Porter also has several English, German and other European pieces.

“We also carry silver cups and baby rattles, which are precious keepsakes,” she says.

For those in search of specific patterns or pieces to fill in an inherited set, or those looking to expand their own collection, Mary Porter has a network of dealers on speed dial across the country. After all, to make things truly sterling, you need an expert.