Remember the old Lone Ranger tv series? Well, that is not what this post is about!!!
It’s about my newest passion – collecting (and sometimes selling) old silver.
Everything from jewelry to vintage silverware – I love it all!!! I have started picking up odd pieces of silverplate and sometimes real silver forks, knives and spoons. I love researching the history and names of odd serving pieces and patterns- from an era of manners and fanciful and proper table settings.
My kids have never liked my old silverware – they insist it tastes funny – maybe it does, but not to me!!!
I love everything about it – the thrill of the search, rummaging around in a box full of stuff at a flea market or yard sale, and coming up with a tarnish blackened ‘treasure’! I can’t wait to get it home and get out my polishing cloth, or the silver cream – to see what markings are hidden! Sometimes it is a disappointment, but most times not. The range of patterns in the old silverware is vast, and the occasional coin silver, or early 1800’s serving piece, or valuable sterling brooch that emerges from the tarnish, makes the search worthwhile!
I am definitely still an amateur at this – but the research is fun, and I love having a shabby, yet chic, collection of unmatched silverware for everday use. Ladles of all sizes and former uses, condiment spoons, lemon and shrimp forks, engraved and dated handles, baby spoons, long and graceful iced tea spoons…….I just love them all. Brooches, dresser mirrors, and platters from the 20’s and 30’s are a weakness also. Some I keep for awhile, others eventually find their way into my shop or onto eBay for others to enjoy. And sometimes to an artist friend- if she would like them !!
But, the seach is never ending!
I have learned that some silver jewelry afficianados, prefer that the tarnish remains on a piece. They like the contrast of light and dark in the crevices. If I am reselling a piece, I will polish the silverware, but only polish the hallmarks on a piece of jewelry, or just lightly clean with a cloth enough to show the detail. I leave the cleaning to the buyer. If it’s my own to keep – I polish it!
Can you imagine the days when large households had only silver in the house? No wonder there were servants to polish the silver – it is soo time consuming. I don’t mind doing it when a new piece comes home – it is mindless work, your mind can wander elsewhere while polishing. But if I had to do this every day….!! I guess that is why so much silver ends up in pawn and thrift shops, and yard sales – too much work for today’s busy housewife!!! But their discards keep the search alive for me!!!! And, the time will come again, when silver is in vogue. Until then, I’m off to look for more!!!!
My flapper Great Aunt Taimi’s Georg Jensen brooch, that was sacrificed for college tuition!!! Aunt Taimi and I each had years of enjoyment with this beautiful piece, and now an avid collector in California is enjoying it, and college tuition was covered!! Great Aunt Taimi would be happy – she never got to go to California, but her beautiful little brooch did- living the high life in Hollywood!!!
More of Great Aunt Taimi’s Deco pieces – also sold to a collector to complete her service. I don’t mind polishing jewelry and silverware – but in Virginia’s humid weather – being decorative only, these pieces needed constant polishing- we have no servants!!!
I would love to hear about your collections- does anyone else out there share a passion for silver?
All is well, and a shiny new day at Mountain Meadows today!!!!