Why silver spoons?

Baby with a spoonSilver spoons make ideal gifts and are traditionally given as wedding anniversary gifts, christening gifts or as souvenirs.

Silver spoons are rich in meaning and history and we want to revive the tradition of giving and collecting silver spoons. By combining traditional craftsmanship with contemporary design we make valuable and unique spoons at reasonable prices so that more people can own these precious possessions.

Spoons are designed for serving food and this association with life giving and sharing led to the spoon symbolising a new beginning: a new life, a change or a significant event. From the 1500's spoons were given as Christening gifts. Kept for life, they were seen as precious items with great sentimental value. In some cultures spoons formed part of marriage ceremonies. There are also some examples of spoons made for funerals to symbolise life after death.

Why handmade?

Making a spoonTwo reasons: Firstly you can quarantee that your spoon is the only one like it in existence and this makes it an original work of art. Secondly handmade spoons have what the artist speaks of as handling and feeling; qualities which have been left out of modern trade silverwork in its march of progress to a soulless mechanisation.

A machine makes very well a perfectly matched set, but a handmade spoon has the secret charm that simple straightforward work made lovingly and honestly always possess. Our spoons are made by hand at THEODOSIA our shop in Newport on the Isle of Wight.

Why silver?

HallmarksSilver has superb working qualities. It is strong, malleable and ductile, which makes it an ideal material. Silver is a precious metal, which will always keep its value and is highly prized all over the world. Silver is also traditionally associated with wealth and plenty and silver spoons are symbols of sustenance, giving and sharing.

The sterling silver used for our spoons is refined to 925 parts per 1000 pure silver making it purer and richer than lesser alloys. All of our spoons are Hallmarked which guarantees that they conform to the legal standard of purity.

A short history of silver spoons

HallmarksEarly humans probably used shells or hollowed wood to hold liquid and soft food. The earliest spoons were made of baked clay; later they were made from bone or wood pieces. The Egyptians made spoons of bronze, some with elaborately carved handles representing human or animal forms; long incense spoons were used for ceremonies. The Greeks and Romans used bronze and sometimes silver for their spoons and the Celts made short bronze spoons with broad stems to fit into their hands [1].

Medieval spoons were usually made of horn or wood, although brass, pewter and a copper alloy were also used. Silver spoons began to appear in the inventories of noble households in the 13th century, the first English reference appearing in a will of 1259 and another in the wardrobe accounts of Edward I in 1300. These records show that silver spoons were items of value and rarity. [2]

Apostle spoons were made for personal use and the handles were topped with a figure of an apostle, saint or Jesus Christ. English examples have been found dating from the mid-15th century to the end of the 17th century and were sometimes made in sets of 13, consisting of the Twelve Apostles and Christ. In the 16th and 17th centuries apostle spoons were popular christening presents.

HallmarksSpoon design has evolved over the ages. Some early English spoon handles terminate in an acorn, plain knob or a diamond, which we allude to in our acorn design. And our spoons with fig shaped bowls hark back to the end of the 16th century [2]. The rat's tail design dates back to the early 18th century when spoon bowls became narrow and elliptical with a rat's tail down the back [2].

Care of your handmade silver spoon

The best possible way to keep a silver spoon clean is to use it. All our spoons are 'fit for their purpose' and completely functional. Over time they will develop a beautiful patina achieveable only through constant use. Hot soapy water and a dry cloth is all that is required to clean your spoon.

If your spoon does tarnish you can use any proprietary silver cleaner to restore its colour. The spoons are solid silver so no base metal will show through as it would do on plated wares.

Citations

1. "Stone Age." Encyclopędia Britannica. 2008. Encyclopędia Britannica Online. 6 Jan. 2008 .

2. Encyclopędia Britannica Eleventh Edition, 1911. http://en.wikisource.org/w/index.php?title=User:Tim_Starling/ScanSet_TIFF_demo&vol=25&page=ED5A755