Monogrammed Sterling Silver

Written by Blaire Chandler-Wilcox
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The presence of monogrammed sterling silver on a well-set table has long been a symbol of wealth, taste, culture, and style. Along with fine linens, perfect stemware, and delicate china, sterling silver is always a pleasure to behold. As they say, a thing of beauty is a joy forever.

In fact, the older it gets, the more beautiful sterling silver becomes. Vintage silver pieces have a glowing, velvety finish. They appear more refined than hard, brilliant, "newborn" silver. Usage and loving care mellows sterling, making it near golden, and increasingly lovely with every meal.

Vintage monograms, too, are usually--not always, but usually--much more beautiful than contemporary options. Monogramming now can be done in a matter of hours at the local mall. This was not so in days of yore.

19th Century Monograms: The Height of the Art

In centuries gone by, monograms were considered an art form. The design of a monogram could take weeks, the actual engraving of it even longer. In terms of fineness of detail, the finesse of execution, and the perfect symmetry of design, contemporary monogrammed silverware, in most cases, simply cannot compare.

In fact, vintage monogrammed silverware is superior in nearly every way imaginable. American silversmiths in the 19th and early 20th centuries were considered the finest in the world. Their designs influenced decorative arts the globe-over. There are, of course, the silversmith giants like Tiffany and Gorham, but there's also the astonishingly beautiful handiwork of Dominick & Haff, Reed & Barton, Wallace, Kirk Steiff, Towle and others.

In fact, many people now are choosing to invest in complete sets of vintage monogrammed silver rather than new. More to the point, they are often selecting sets bearing monograms which have nothing to do with their own family names. While some people have vintage monograms removed (a practice deeply frowned upon by historians and silversmith purists,) many feel the artistry and craftsmanship of pattern design, the heavier weight of vintage silver, and the perfection of the monogram motif itself, makes the "wrong" initials a mute point.

Monogrammed Sterling: Eclectic Delights

Another trend in monogrammed silver collection is the piece by piece selection of individual knives, forks and spoons, all bearing different monograms, in different patterns, from different manufacturers. This type of collection is considered appropriate for both casual everyday dining, and for semi-formal dinners. Collections like these make every serving piece also a conversation piece.

If this type of collection is appealing to you, style advisors recommend some general collecting guidelines. Though the point of a collection like this is its wide variety, you do want some sense of continuity. Decide whether you like "heavier" or "lighter" patterns; streamlined designs or those that are more ornate. Perhaps one wants to collect every kind of rose and floral pattern. Or those that feature long, elegant, art-deco lines. Regardless, within your chosen category, go wild. The result will be an impressive collection that is delightful to the eye, heavy in the hand, and, well, a joy forever.

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