November 13, 2014

Silvery Things

While I am in the UK, I plan on stocking up on one of my favourite things: bone-handled cutlery. I started collecting it years ago, when I’d find one piece here and another there, always knives. On the very rarest occasion, I’d find a fork, but not often. Martha Stewart started collecting this type of cutlery and sort of cornered the American market on it, and what pieces I did see, were way over priced.knives

Many of these are either butter knives or fruit knives, and if they’re highly decorated, they’re called fish knives. image

Sets like the one above are very rare in the US, but quite common in the UK. The handles are either French Ivory, which is a form of Bakelite, Ivorine, bone-effect or bone. The striations on the French Ivory are more regular than on bone or ivory. I have some of each. IMG_5628IMG_5634IMG_5640

You can find new pieces like these, but without the soul and character the old ones have. In fact, I found some similar-ish pieces at Target!

One one trip back to England, I thought I’d hunt for some spoons to go with the knives and forks, only to find they never made spoons. If you’ve been reading Pigtown*Design for a long time, you will know the story of one of my London friends having a set of spoons made for me.image You can read about the spoons here.

My friend Yonks and I are going to an auction in the Welsh countryside, and she assures me that there are a lot of old country-houses and farms in the area, so I am hoping that it means a lot of this silver! I would frequently find sets in cases, called caskets, which were in perfect condition and had rarely been used. image

What’s also interesting about these, is that while the blades and tines are EPNS (Electro-Plated Nickel Silver), the collars are actual silver, and therefore hallmarked, so you can tell the date of the pieces. image

I’ve sold nearly all of the pieces of this that I once had – seriously, I had more than 70 pieces of it when I moved back to the States – and thought I’d try and replenish my stocks in the UK. It will be easier to bring this back than a set of china! I still have a set of knives and forks that I use for my everyday silver and I love it.

Check my Etsy sidebar on the right to see when I am selling some of it!


  1. I love these pieces, also--but the MOP pieces are my favorite. When do you leave?
    xoxo M

  2. how beautiful + hmm stewart at it again + you go girl.

  3. I guess that means you always check luggage ;-) When I visited Janet and Joel this summer I nearly had my housewarming gift taken from me - a set of antique serving spoons with ceramic lobster claw handles. You know -sooooo dangerous. I was so glad they let me through to deliver my gift!

  4. Meg, these are beautiful. I love the old bone-handled ones too. They have to be handled and washed carefully! (I know because I destroyed a cranberry jelly server once)!


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