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Katherine Palthey presents:
Silver Enameling Techniques: Plique-à-jour
"Plique à jour" (PAJ) is French for "letting in daylight" and is a vitreous enameling technique used since the 6th century AD. Enamel is colored glass or silica with which the addition of different chemical substances allows it to become this transparent or translucent material. In PAJ, this translucent enamel is applied in individual silver cells using a temporary backing. Once finished, the backing is removed by dissolving in acid or by rubbing off leaving the piece translucent. This allows the sunlight to shine through the glass projecting a colorful unique piece.
Today Plique à Jour remains the most difficult enameling technique produced by silversmiths. After a brief history, I will explain the differences between the three main enameling techniques: cloisonné, painted enamel and basse-taille. In this first part I will focus specifically on Plique à Jour (a type of cloisonné) and will share a few rare silver examples. In the second part of this article I will follow with a few Cloisonné silver collectibles to help you better understand this amazing silver technique....
Welcome to new ASCAS members:
Elizabeth Blakely - USA
Maggie Wihnyk - USA
Pierre Saric presents:
A PLATTER FROM BAYONNE
The silver platter is from the French goldsmith Jean-Baptiste Delane, received master in 1757 and died in 1807. This goldsmith was registered in the community of Bayonne (France).
However, on the object, there are only the same three hallmarks of the goldsmith, and nothing else (without marks of tax farmer). This means that these are hallmarks of "maître abonné", a goldsmith exempted from certain formalities because too far from the tax farmer....
David McKinley writes:
The relationship between the two Peters Harache (Huguenot silversmiths) as recorded on the British Museum website is incorrect but they cite me as their primary source.
As I have failed to persuade them to rectify this error I now wish to publicly disassociate myself from it.
David McKinley devotes much of his time to researching the history of silversmithing in England with particular reference to hallmarking at the London office. He writes for both The Silver Spoon Club of Great Britain, The Silver Society and many of his articles about English silver have been published in ASCAS website.
David McKinley is the author of the book THE FIRST HUGUENOT SILVERSMITHS OF LONDON.
Mike Lawson writes:
I hope you can help me to understand a little more about a vermeil vase which appears to have an over stamped maker's mark on "G E & Son", and a thistle purity mark, castle Edinburgh town mark and date letter "h" 1899 or "n" 1894, and another mark which is obscure but possibly (or not) Queen Victoria's duty mark. Elsewhere, the vase is stamped 925 M, which presumably indicates sterling, but why mark silver purity twice on the one piece?
I am wondering if this was perhaps intended for the export market and that may explain why the maker's mark (possibly George Edward and Son of Glasgow) was over stamped with Edinburgh assay and retailer's marks.
The vase has a matching glass insert and is obviously intended for a table decoration. As it is vermeil and rococo in style, I initially thought it may have been Continental or Hanau silver but I am now convinced it is Scottish silver around the turn of the 19th-20th century. What do you think?
Thanks you for your help and the very informative newsletter.
The date letter is "h" corresponding to 1889. The mark on the right (next the "h") is an "F" meaning that it's an imported item.
The style of the piece is typical of Hanau silver. The mark of the German maker could be overstamped or somewhere else in the piece.
Maurice Meslans writes:
... The larger spoon I purchased decades ago. There are two marks, one a crowned LS and a second mark a crowned trefle or three leaf clover above LS. The spoon was also marked by American silversmiths Gorham & Thurber 1850-52. To me it was obvious that about 1850 someone took the spoon into a Rhode Island shop, where they buffed it and engraved a new monogram. I have never traced the maker's marks LS and while it had been in America for over 150 years it was either 18th c. French or French colonial. The three marks could be a subscription silversmith.
Recently I acquired a second spoon apparently an early French spoon although a completely different style. This time no one had buffed it, and it has patina commensurate with an 18th century spoon. However this time there are two strikes of the trefle mark and two more partial strike of the same mark. I think that this probably rules out a silversmith in France. In fact four marks suggest an Anglo connection. Unfortunately I have found no Canadian or American silversmiths of French origin with the right initials. I have not heard if anyone has found the same marks in France.
I was hoping one of your readers might help.
Sergey Terpogosov writes:
... I'm trying to identify the maker of these silverplate spoons.
Any suggestion would be highly appreciated..
Heather Kaliden writes:
... I inherited this silver butter dish. I know nothing about it.
Would you be able to tell me when this is from and the maker?
I would appreciate any insight?
Elizabeth DuPreez writes:
...Please find attached photos of my pride and joy tea set from Gorham silver.
I have been searching for any information regarding the pattern (I believe it is custom possibly), or history.
I purchased it a while back as it is a centennial piece (based on the date lettering), and given the incredible amount of high end work Gorham did during the Paris exposition I would like to see if there is any special provenance for this set. Any info would be most appreciated!
Claire Gillingham writes:
... could you give me in formation on this please?
We got told it was an old boxing belt, but we aren't sure what can you tell by these hallmarks
The hallmark is London 1845. The maker is, possibly, John Harris of C.S. Harris & Sons Ltd.
Fritz Guercke writes:
... a friend of mine showed me a very nice bowl and asked me to give him some information about this item. Unfortunately are the stamps not very informative.
The head of an animal on the left side seems to be a leopard's head, which was usual on English objects. But in this case I miss the other silver stamps.
The diameter of the bowl is ca. 20 cm.
Can you help me? Where is this bowl manufactured? Is it perhaps silver plated?
Thank You very much.
Francesca Rapposelli writes:
... I need your help to identify the maker of this silver watch (looks Hanau manufacture).
Any suggestion would be highly appreciated.
This month ASCAS presents an ancient advertisement of
ALTENA i. WESTFALEN
The firm was founded in Altena i. Westfalen (Germany) in 1820 by Arnold Künne (1796-1872).
Arn. Künne Silberwarenfabrik advertised as manufacturer of silver and silverplate (alpaca) flatware and religious and church vessels.
In this column we present an abstract from a page of the "What is? Silver Dictionary"