For years I have lugged around my grandmother’s silverware neatly rolled up in green felt carriers with individual spaces for each utensil. The silverware is stained and tarnished, a bit beat up. I’ve never used them for eating and no one has ever suggested that we might polish up the silver for dinner. I hung onto the collection knowing that it had belonged to my grandmother and I always had a twinge of guilt when I thought of getting rid of it.
Fast forward a few years… I started working with metals and making jewelry. Thoughts of cutting up the silverware and re-purposing it often filled my mind. I finally took the plunge and did just that and made a couple of interesting pieces out of a spoon. The guilt didn’t last and I like the pieces I had created.
Over analysis? Maybe.
I decided to look a little further into the information on the back of the silverware so I could add some interesting detail to a potential listing on Etsy. Here’s what I found… Founded in Massachusetts in 1690, Towle Silversmiths first introduced the Rambler Rose pattern in 1937. The pattern is described as a “floral motif, decorated with a line of roses trailing down the handle, ending in a tip adorned by more roses.”
The other item of note that I found is that real sterling silverware is EXPENSIVE! It’s no wonder we’ve moved away from using real silver. Who can afford it? This particular pattern goes for $1,200 for a 5-piece service for 1 person! If you were to go all out and get a complete service for 12 people, it would cost over $15,000. Of course, that is for a new, pristine set. But still.
I have no idea when my grandparents acquired the set, but I do know that I have been destroying this antique silverware that could possibly be worth more than the jewelry I am turning it into. But, after finishing up the ring, adding some patina to highlight the floral pattern, and buffing to a shine, I think I’ve decided to stick with destruction. Maybe I’ll just charge more!