Hello Reni,

I am wondering if you maybe able to help me. I am looking for Edwardian friendship bands and their history. I am told that they look like 3 flat gold rings with the illusion of being braided, two outer sides of gold with silver edging.

I am wondering if you know of any pictures on the net at all or where I can purchase one from.


Thank you,

T.

Dear T,

The Edwardian period (1901 - 10) was a short one. Platinum and platinum topped jewelry with diamonds, seed pearls and pastel colored gems were lavishly set in motifs of garlands, swags, flowers and bows. The look was elaborate, light and lacy.

Some of the sentiments attached to Victorian jewelry were revived from earlier traditions and still in evidence during the early 1900's.

The Gimmel ring is composed of two or three hoops linked together sharing the same shank. A common motif showed clasped hands as part of the bezel. This symbol evolved from the fede (meaning trust-Italian) ring which dates back to Roman days. These rings were given with betrothals and engagements.

The puzzle ring contains three or as many as seven interlocking hoops which form a single ring (with a braided motif) when assembled. Some were used as signet or love rings. They were popular in Turkey and still are today.

I've seen puzzle rings made out of inexpensive metals (See the "Bits and Pieces" catalog) and high carat golds.


Reni

Reference:
Neuman, Harold...An Illustrated Dictionary of Jewelry...Thames and Hudson 1981 and 1986

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Dear Reni,

I am a retiree whose job it is to polish the silver-plated items in my wife's china closet. I also use Gorham's silver polish. In order to preserve my work for a longer period of time, I wrap each item, tightly in a sheet of Saran wrap. This slows the tarnishing of my hard work. I pass this on to fellow husbands who wish to preserve their fine work. Thanks for a great column.

F.Y.

Dear F.Y.,

How wonderful you are spending part of your well earned free time polishing silver, I'm jealous!

Unfortunately, plastic wraps such as the one mentioned, can produce horrible reactions on the surfaces of silver when left for long periods. Temperature changes and humidity eventually seep under the plastic seal. It's worse than any tarnish. Only a professional can polish away the damage. Silver plate may have to be replated.

Wrapping in acid free tissue can help. It should be soft so it doesn't scratch the surface of the silver items. Soft "pacific cloth" bags which can be purchased at jewelry and linen stores are the best answer.

I am sure your hard work is appreciated.

Reni

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Hi Reni,

I am enclosing a picture of a cobalt blue vase with an outer metal border. The bottom of the border is stamped Forbes Silver Co with the number 77 stamped beside it. I have had this for I believe 53 years or should I say since infancy. Could you tell me approximately what its age would be, and approximation of its value? I will appreciate that very much.

Sincerely,


D.H.

Hi D.H.,

Although this picture and description help identify the age of your cobalt piece, measurements would help value it.

The Forbes Silver Co. was organized in 1894 as part of the Meriden Britannia Co. They specialized in silver plating holloware, and were one of the original companies to form the International Silver Co. (refer to article).

The metal over the glass is silver plate and not sterling overlay. The design is Art Deco style. The use of cobalt glass was very popular in the 1920's and 30's. If your piece measures under six or seven inches, it may be a cologne bottle or dresser jar without it's stopper. If it is larger, a vase, in good condition, it could have a decorative value between $75.00 and $100.00.

Enjoy it,


Reni

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Dear Reni,

I have a small silver platter that is footed. It has the markings, "W&SB" with two oblong lion figures on either side. One of the lion figures has a "U" or "O" at it's front paw. There is also a marking "EPC" in as well as the number 15. Can you tell me who the maker is?

Thanks,


J.

Hi J.,

Your platter was made by W.& S. Blackinton Co. from Meriden, Connecticut. The Blackinton brothers founded this company in 1865. They specialized in gold jewelry. The firm was sold to the Elmore Silver Co. in 1938. At this time, silver plate holloware was introduced into production.

As with many companies, operations ceased during the W.W. II years and resumed after. From 1961 through 1965 this company was independently owned and incorporated. The Raimond Silver Mfg. Co. purchased W. & S. Blackinton Co. in 1966 and moved it to Chelsea, Massachusetts.

The EPC mark tells us that your small platter is electroplate on copper, most likely made after 1938. You can verify the company trademark in the following reference.


Reni


Reference: Rainwater, Dorothy T. and Redfield Judy, Encyclopedia of American Silver Manufacturers, 4th ed., Schiffer, 1998.

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Hi Reni,

My name is MK and I have a very unusual piece of silver. It has three legs that look like a foot of a lion, above the legs are faces that look like a lion, and attached to these legs are a bowl type of dish with a dome top that opens with a small handle. I believe its cir size is approx. 6 inches. On the bottom it is marked F.B. ROGERS 273. Is there anyway you can possibly know what I have. I am not able to send a picture thru email, however, if you need me to I can send one in the mail.

Sincerely,


MK.


Hello, I have read your columns and see that you have answered several questions for readers about the value of their Meriden Silver pieces. I am interested in the value of this piece obviously, but I'd be more interested to know what exactly it is. It was given to me by my Grandfather not long ago. It measures 9" tall from base to tip, 7" wide from handle to handle, is marked on bottom: Meriden B. Company 1883. Engraved on the top piece is a bird on 1 side and a flower or wheat emblem on the other side. Any help is much appreciated!!

Sincerely,


T.W.

Dear M.K. and T.W.,

In the 19th century, it was proper to serve butter and other perishable condiments in covered dishes. Refrigeration, as we know it , did not exist at the time. it appears fro the descriptions and picture, you both have American silver plate butter dishes, probably dating from the 1880's.

Most Victorian butter dishes are comparable in size (maybe 6" to 9" diameters), with dome type covers and handles in which the dishes can be carried to the table. Post 1860's styles are often on legs or pedestals. Often there is a drain type plate which can be removed from the inside and used to separate chipped ice from the butter. Sometimes, a butter knife and knife rest may be attached to the outside. There are many variations in decorations and patterns which make them fun to collect.

For more information on the companies that manufactured these stylish and cleverly useful servers, check out my article on American silver plate (Nov. 2001 in the Journal Section of Living Victorian). In good condition, Victorian silver plate butter dishes can be valued between $50.00 and $100.00, sometimes more if the handles and finials are figural.

Enjoy it,


Reni

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