The post office frowns on tying up parcels with string these days, so parcels usually arrive covered with layers of tape. But arriving packages are wonderful, regardless of how they’re wrapped.
Today, I received a parcel from ex-housemate, Andy. I have to say a few things about Andy. I was his lodger for about nine months in Wales. We were fast friends from our first phone conversation and continue to be close friends today. His two darling boys, Robbie and Johnny, are wonderful and talented children. Andy was my closest friend and sometime saviour in Cardiff, and we had lots of adventures together. He will always have a special place in my life and in my heart!When I received a parcel from Andy today, I knew I was in for a treat. I had asked Andy to take up the challenge of finding some of the French Ivory-handled cutlery. As you may know, French Ivory has been around since 1865, when it was first invented by Alexander Parkes. Celluloid has been used as an excellent ivory substitute. Casein has also been used.
Names for these "faux ivories" include French Ivory, Ivoride, Genuine French Ivory, Ivorine, etc. Both grain patterns and the engine turned effect are added -- in general, the patterns of these are very regular in the fakes, and more irregular in the real thing. In instances of very good imitations (i.e. using celluloid), chemical tests are required to tell real ivory and the fakes apart. Andy said he’d never really looked for this – even though I had dozens of pieces which I collected – but when he started looking around, he was able to find some great sets for me.One of the sets came in a wooden presentation box, and another in a small pebble-grain leather case. Much of it has sterling silver ferrules, with early 1900’s English silver hallmarks. This set has marks from Sheffield, the crown; England, the lion passant; and 1916, the P. The set in the wooden presentation box contained six knives with French Ivory handles, and six dessert spoons, six forks, six teaspoons and two serving spoons! It’s really an amazing set, and in perfect condition.
Each of the pieces fits in the case exactly, although they’d been a bit shaken up when they arrived this afternoon. The case is lined in a pale blue grey felt on the holders and green felt on the top and bottom. It’s so hard to find beautiful workmanship like this anymore.
In a bout of shameless self promotion, I will be selling this silver on my Etsy site! It’s been a big seller in the past, and I am sure I will sell out of it again.