Sunday, January 22, 2012

What's Your Silver Pattern?

The November 2011 issue of Country Living Magazine contained an article on collecting sterling silver flatware in the monthly section on "Vintage finds and what they're worth".  Which has left me with a distressing question...

If the silverware I received as a wedding gift is already vintage, what the h*** does that make me???

Aside from making me feel really old, the article was interesting. It talked about the ten most popular "vintage" sterling flatware patterns and gave their current values. The best-selling pattern? Chantilly by Gorham, with a current value of $130. per fork.

Chantilly was followed closely by #2 Grand Baroque, #3 Francis I, #4 Old Master, #5 Strasbourg, #6 Rose Point, #7 Buttercup, #8 Prelude, #9 Fairfax and #10 Repousse, with forks in these patterns valued from $110. to $200. each.

This is my silver pattern, Fontana by Towle. It didn't make Country Living's "Top Ten" list but I still love it. It's old and simple...a lot like me now that I'm vintage!

When I first got married, selecting a silver pattern was a right of passage. I never really gave it much thought. (It was kind of a schizophrenic time back then...most of us couldn't decide whether we should  burn our bras or choose silver patterns.)  But now, many years later, I still enjoy breaking out "the good stuff" for special meals with family and friends.

By the time I married again, times had changed and I was more interested in collecting mismatched dishes and flatware from Dansk and IKEA that I could change out to suit my mood. 

Do young brides today still register for sterling and china?

My great aunt, Eunice, worked in a high-end jewelry store in Connecticut and gave me this little silver pin in my silver pattern. I'm not sure if it was a salesman's sample or something that one could actually purchase at the time. But it still sits in a special corner of my jewelry box.

To show you its size, here it is next to a teaspoon in the same pattern...a cute little collectible with lots of happy memories attached.

I also have a few pieces of  MIL #1's silver.

Her pattern, Fairfax by Gorham, is #9 on Country Living's list and, as was the custom in her day, she had each piece monogrammed.

This little "Silver" towel was a flea market find. The embroidered fork and spoon look pretty happy together but I do feel a little sorry for Mr. Knife...guess he just couldn't cut it (sorry...couldn't resist!).

Did you choose a silver pattern when you got married?

If so, do you still use and enjoy it?

Or is it stored away in a big silver chest in favor of more casual or funky dinnerware?

I'm happy that I have both choices...timeless sterling when I'm feeling "vintage" and colorful retro when I'm ready for a little walk on the table-setting wild side.

How about you?

This post is linked to the following blog parties...I hope you'll take a few minutes to visit them:
Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps On the Porch
Tabletop Tuesday at A Stroll Through Life


Grammy Goodwill said...

Oh, my goodness. I have that silver! It's actually my Mom's pattern and silver, but since I host the family dinners, I've inherited her silver. I then gave my daughter mine, but I didn't have as much as Mom did. My pattern is Grand Duchess. When my daughter married, she picked out china and crystal patterns, but not silver as she knew she was getting mine and eventually her grandmother's.

Vickie @ Ranger 911 said...

Unfortunately, I went the casual route with dishes and flatware and our wedding. Maybe that's why I collect vintage blue & white transferware today. I wish I had registered for silver to pass on to our daughters.

I love that cute embroidered piece!

Pamela Gordon said...

Cheryl, you have a lovely silver set in a nice box and I'm glad you use it. I didn't register or receive any silver for our wedding almost 35 years ago. I was given 2different stainless patterns which I still use faithfully. One set it for 6 and I use it every day of life. The other set is for 4 and I use it for special occasions when there are four here. I have some odd pieces of heirloom silver from family but none matched the ones in the C L article. Our daughter inherited her Grammies silver and we used it at Christmas. She didn't pick out a china pattern when she was married almost 4 years ago but they registered for pottery dishes from a potter they know. She now wants Corelle as she has a 16 month old. :) I wonder what young marrieds are doing these days too.

Ann@A Sentimental Life said...

We have the same silver chest! Mine is silver artistry by oneida and I still love it. I think silver and china are going by the way side for Pottery Barn and Crate and Barrell!

Linda @ A La Carte said...

I did not choose a silver pattern or china when I got married. I had a full set of gorgeous Nortake china that my Dad got overseas. I never felt like I could afford silver and one day my Mom gave me her silverplate that she got as a wedding means more to me then any sterling silver I might have now. hugs, Linda

SavannahGranny said...

I registered for Wallace's "Waltz of Spring" in 1958.
I have the little lapel pin in my pattern. In Atlanta, where I grew up, the jewelry store would give young girls the lapel pin when they registered that pattern.
It wasn't until many years later that I was able to finish that service for 12 with serving pieces.
I was fortunate enough to put together services of Wallace's Golden Agean Weaveand the antique silver, International's Stratford, from 1902.
I use all of it often and heartily. It will eventually go to my two daughters but right now I am enjoying it.
I am glad that you use your Fontana. The more you use it the more beautiful it gets.

Susan said...

Yes, I chose Grand Duchess by Towle when I was about 15 and collected it for my hope chest. I still, to this day, love it. My formal china is Solitaire by Lenox and I fell in love with it when Iwas 12 and same thing...still love it to this day.
I wish more young brides would choose a formal china pattern, especially if they think they're going to be entertaining alot as they grow older.

Susan (My Place to Yours) said...

Like, Linda, I didn't think I could afford silver when I married, so I didn't choose a pattern. I've always had a special spot for Gorham "Strasbourg" because it's very similar in design to my everyday Oneida pattern which I still love now that I'm "vintage." Last year, though, I found a fantastic set of Frank Whiting "King's Court" (also called "Neapolitan") at auction for an amazing price ... so now I have a silver pattern! And yes, I do use it. Great post!

Sherry said...

You have a beautiful pattern. There isn't anything prettier for your table than well loved silver.

Anonymous said...

40 years ago, I chose Joan of Arc, not because I loved it , but because my mom suggested it so I would eventually have a lot of one pattern. Joan of Arc is hers as well. I loved and still do, the more ornate patterns, but I have a full set and do use it often. And have the exact same storage chest as you. PS: fortunately I'm still waiting on mom's!


Tricia said...

What a fun post! Your little pin is adorable -- wish I had one in my pattern! We will celebrate our 40th anniversary this year, and I did register for Lunt Belvedere. Back then, silver was cheap enough that almost anyone would give a spoon or fork as a wedding gift! I have a full set and use it frequently. After my mother-in-law passed away, her collection of Chantilly was divided between my daughter and son. She had promised it to them, so neither registered for silver when they married. I think it's just so expensive now that few brides get many pieces!

Leslie's Garden said...

I saw that same article. I have my mother's silver, which is Rose Point. I love it and use it for our special meals, like Easter and Christmas. I only have 6 place settings, but that is enough, right now I only need 5 with one son still single. You silver is lovely and I know it is treasured.

Martha said...

I have my mother's silver and my husband's grandmother's silver. We got married in a hurry so no registering for us but we did get our china and crystal after we were married -- slowly, however.

Jane@Cottage at the Crossroads said...

When I got married the first time, I chose Chantilly by Gorham as my pattern. But the price of silver had just shot up and I only got a few pieces. A few years ago, I got a bonus for receiving my national board certification as a teacher. I treated myself to a service for 8 of Buttercup because a friend of mine had that pattern and I always admired it when she used it. I think your pattern is beautiful, too.

Sanghamitra Bhattacherjee(Mukherjee) said...

Beautiful! I love that silver.
Thanks for sharing.
Hope to see you on my blog:)


marty (A Stroll Thru Life) said...

Oh how pretty. I didn't choose a silver pattern, sure wish I had. YOurs is beautiful. Thanks for joining TTT. Hugs, Marty

Perfectly Printed said...

When I got married almost 33 years ago, I registered for silverplate. Sterling was so expensive I was concerned no one would be able to afford it, and I knew I couldn't buy fill in pieces. My pattern is Affection. I do have my mom's silver, she registered for George and Martha Washington in 1948.

Sharon Morrison said...

The silver I have was my Grandmothers, and also a different pattern of my Mother's. I use both every holiday that I host. I use their china as well.
We were too broke to pick out silver and china when we married in the 60's.
I have always preferred to use the old stuff. My daughters have all the new. I guess when I am dead and gone, there will be one heck of a sale!!

Linda @ Itsy Bits And Pieces said...

Your silver is really pretty, Cheryl! We are happy to have my husband's grandmother's silverplate, but nothing sterling. And I didn't register when we were married- we received three different sets (patterns) of stainless flatware lol!

Monique Lehnhardt said...

Hi this is my first time to comment but I couldn't miss sharing one this one. I did pick china, silver and crystal when I married in 1980s. I consider it part of one of the best decisions I've ever made. I told my new in-laws to buy me whatever they wanted from those three for birthdays, Christmas, or any gift giving occasion. It took the pressure off them to try and guess what I'd like. They could spend whatever they wanted. I'm happy with a spoon. And now I have 32 years worth of something I love. And no bad gifts. I tell all the young girls at work, you may not think you want it now but you will.

Susan Herin said...

Love your silver pattern, Cheryl. Really beautiful and so glad you use it and don't save it for a "special" day. I wish more brides were still picking a silver pattern these days. Not many do now, form what I've heard.

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Francis Hodges said...

Well, someone stole all our sterling, R & B's "Spanish Baroque," which really didn't suit us anymore(to many curls and swirls), so we decided to mix and match some of the old Art Deco patterns--Lansdowne, St. Dunstan Chased, San Lorenzo, Wedgewood, etc. Now I can feel like a Southerner again. You just can't feel Southern without a little sterling tucked away in a drawer!

Anonymous said...

I'm a 30-something old maid. I'm collecting Gorham Colfax (My grandmother started my silver set as a PhD graduation gift). I fell in love with the mix of simplicity and delicate decoration as a young teen. I hope that some day in the extremely distant future I can also inherit her Grand Baroque. My sister recently married. She did register for china (to match my mother's good china, so someday she will have an awesome collection), but I don't think she registered for silver.

Your pattern is a very pretty take on that shape.

Estate Sterling said...

Excellent blog! These patterns of sterling silver are really pretty. I love this knives and forks. This is probably the most common form of general collection. This type of caddy spoon is one of the most collectable forms of spoon. You can also check Sterling Silver Serving Tray here.

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