Sunday, August 24, 2008

My First Piece of Silver!

This lovely pair of sugar tongs was my first ever silver purchase!  I found them at the Woollahra Antiques Centre, back when I was in high school.  When I saw them I loved both the lions paws and the little cherubs.

The hallmarks on these tongs are from Germany after 1888.  The 800 is the silver purity, the crescent moon  and crown are the national mark for Germany. As there is no makers mark, I haven't been able to work out who made them, but they were probably made in the 1930's.  

From these tongs, I managed to dig around the family home and find another piece, which was an English Sterling bookmark that belonged to my great-grandfather! These two were the beginning of what I'm sure will be a lifetime of collecting!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Jersey Brightcut Teaspoon

With some ancestry in the Channel Islands, I was excited to find out they had their own silversmiths, marking their wares with unique marks.  

This spoon was made by the last of the Jersey Silversmiths to make spoons.  It was made by Jean Le Gallais, around 1850.  As you can see the hallmarks don't follow the standard English hallmarking system.  In this case there is the makers mark, (JLG), a crown and the letter J (for Jersey).  

Another really cool thing about Channel Islands spoons is their use of the double drop (I've also seen it called a skeleton drop) heel to join the stem to the bowl of the spoon.  Although this can be found in early English spoons, it died out reasonably quickly there.  In the Jersey however, the silversmiths continued to use this style up through the nineteenth century.  It was hard to take a photograph of, but you can see it in the photo, the little pitchfork shape.