Table talk dating
Its reflective qualities have made it an ideal material for the display of power, wealth or reverence, in palaces, cathedrals, temples and the great houses of Asia, Europe and the Americas.
It was during the Renaissance that silver began to become important for display: An impressive show of silver objects was a telling measure of a person’s wealth and social standing.
Followed, of course by the addition of the fish fork.
By the 1870’s, dinner consisted of from five to eighteen courses, and, as one etiquette book stated, the guest could expect “a bewildering array of glass goblets, wine and champagne glasses, numerous forks, knives and spoons.” Silver manufacturers were soon trying to outdo one another, with one American maker offering 20 different types of individual place setting spoons, 12 different forks and ten different knives.
However, no one alloy has emerged to replace copper as the industry standard, and alloy development is a very active area. Sterling made in the USA after approximately 1850 always has a sterling mark.
It may literally have the word STERLING and/or say .925, or show the fraction 925/1000.
Nineteenth-century silver manufacturers had placed great emphasis on industrialization and modern manufacturing techniques, but the early years of the 20th century saw a move to widen the gulf between artist and industrialist.
The Arts & Crafts Movement, which saw its beginnings in Europe and spread quickly across the Atlantic, put emphasis on the individual craftsman.
Other metals can replace the copper, usually with the intention of improving various properties of the basic sterling alloy such as reducing casting porosity, eliminating fire scale, and increasing resistance to tarnish.The social, rather than the economic, aspects of silver were taking shape.Etruscan spoons dating from 700 BC are not unlike the ones we use today, and knives were always present at the table, but it was in 16th century Italy that forks began to replace fingers for conveying food to the mouth.In the English court, New Year’s gifts of silver were customarily exchanged, and silver was of foremost importance for state occasions.At the same time, silver was the preferred material for the wealthiest aristocratic and merchant classes.