It's not just antique jewellery that carries a wonderful and eccentric history. Silverware from the Georgian, Edwardian and Victorian era has a story to tell of lavish parties, peculiar quirks and a wonder at how they fit all the cutlery on the table!
Used as coinage in ancient times, Silver has long been a sought after metal, and is associated with wealth. It has been found in the graves of ancient high status people, and was therefore known to be of the most value to them. It was harder to find silver than gold in these times.
It has in some regards, hit the jackpot, in that it is rare enough to be precious, but not so rare that it can't be used and created regularly for currency, the creation of jewellery, and for tableware and cutlery.
As the Church gained more power in the 11th century, it was used to craft objects within the religious realm, and these were often exquisite and intricate pieces, both large and small.
From the 16th to the 18th century, and the discovery of more silver sources overseas, silver was used increasingly extravagantly, with whole tables and other large items being created by silversmiths. It was a sign of great wealth to have silver items in this period, the larger the better! Louis XIV is perhaps one of the better known royals who ran with this theme of extravagance, and everything from the chandeliers to commodes were made in silver.
Silver continued to show a sign of wealth during the Georgian, Edwardian and Victorian eras, though often silverware could be made with the help of machinery rather than only being made by hand using silversmithing tools.