Saturday, April 4, 2009

Silverware Patterns Rock my World

I am obsessed with silverware patterns. As the myth goes, the southern belles choose their silver patterns when they are nine. That is, if they are not inheriting the family silver. I read this book called The Southern Belle Primer by Marlyn Schwartz and it sorted out which types of girls chose which silverware patterns. I like Buttercup by Gorham(above and below) which is from around 1899. Girls who choose this pattern are said to be upbeat and friendly, but followers (hey!).


Below is the Francis I pattern by Reed & Barton. It is one of the most popular (or, used to be when people still used silver.)Please don't make the mistake of walking around calling it Francis "Eye" as in the letter i, like I used to do. It is Francis "First" and it is the most popular and craziest of patterns because there are what, 28 pieces of fruit on the knife alone? The girl who chooses this pattern is a pain in the ass: demanding, showy and wants it all. I will show a full five piece set of this one as well. This pattern was created in 1906.

Francis I

Francis I

Okay, moving on. Below is Chantilly, also by Gorham. They say the girl who picks this pattern is prissy and was "fast" in high school. I love that shit. Chantilly is the most popular Gorham pattern and was designed in 1895


Old fashioned girls pick Rose Point by Wallace. Wallace is an old silversmith company originated in Connecticut in the 1830's, but this pattern came out a hundred years later in 1934. I don't much like this pattern but I will include it.

Rose Point

The next pattern is Grand Baroque, also by Wallace, which was created in 1941. The girls who pick this pattern tend to be dramatic and are also into literature. Who said book worms were quiet and mousy?

Grand Baroque

The next pattern is Burgundy by Reed and Barton (below), which used to be my favorite until I saw Buttercup again with fresh eyes. The girls who choose Burgandy for their pattern are shy and not competitive. Damn..This still might be my favorite pattern. It is so gorgeous!


Next we have Repousse by Kirk-Stieff. This is one of the oldest silver patterns, designed in 1828. This is a pattern that is usually handed down through many generations. Steiff silver patterns are all really fluffy looking and beautiful. The girl who chooses this pattern wants to be different but still follows tradition.


Below is the Chrysanthemum pattern by Tiffany. These girls have been known to turn up their noses at the Francis I girls but they are just as demanding and flamboyant. They also usually have a lot more money to spend and can be considered flighty. They also have Tiffany china and crystal.


The next pattern is Old Master by Towle. The girl that chooses this pattern is fiercely attached to family heirlooms and is very traditional. She would slit someone's throat over the Old Master silver and it is no wonder because Towle is the oldest silver company. It was founded in 1857, but the guys who ran it, The Moultons, were from a super old American silversmith dynasty. They were silversmiths in England in the 1600's and then moved to Massachusetts in the 1700's and were still going at it. They have the longest continuous span of silversmithing of any American family. They put the old in Old Master. But I love old things, so I pay much homage.

Old Master, I bow to thee

Below is the Strasbourg pattern by Gorham. The girl who chooses this pattern is a bit formal and a little bit controlling, but a great hostess. They love to be festive.


Lastly is the Acorn pattern by Georg Jensen(below), which I find hateful, but I will include it because this is the pattern the rebellious girls choose. It is Danish and is an Art Nouveau creation which I believe is from the 1920's.


Stainless flatware has become increasingly attractive, cheap and popular, so we are not seeing sterling silver flatware any more. Who wants to sit around polishing it except me? The height of the silver craze was during the 50-year period from 1870 to 1920 but was most popular in the gilded age of the 1890's, when everyone was ballin'. If your grandmothers have some they want to give you, accept it and hand it down to your daughter's daughters. Or have yourself buried with it if it is Burgundy or Buttercup.