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The Fée Verte Absinthe Forum - The Oldest, Largest, Most Authoritative Absinthe Forum. > Absinthe & Absinthiana > Absinthiana & Collectibles
Stroller
Picked up a spoon today. The hallmarks are lower left & lower center on the attached hallmark key. I'd appreciate it if someone translate these.

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Back of the spoon handle.

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Artemis
It's hard to read, but the one on the left seems to be a mark used on silver-plated items, and the one in the middle is applied in addition to the applicable mark onto all pieces from that silversmith.
Stroller
Thanks. I see a lot of similar hallmarks and wasn't sure of the differences. I did notice someone translating that hallmark as having something to do with gilded silver. That didn't seem right, is see no traces of gilding.

Looks like the best indication I have for a date would be this.
Artemis
"Dorée" is equivalent to "gilded", and the root word is "gold", but the spoon is obviously silver, so I felt free to use the word "plated" instead. I'm not confident about a precise translation; I just took a stab at it. The word seems to be used for gold, silver, or even bronze. As to the actual process, Kirk would be the man to explain it.
pierreverte
great spoon, fantastic monogram, date it to 1890 - 1905.
Stroller
Thank you both for the help!
Kirk
We think of gilded as meaning covered in gold. A gilded item is produced by any number of methods ranging from gluing on gold foil to mercury dissipation, done under the light of a full moon. Any core can be gilt, including gold, as in gold gilt, where a lower karat gold core is gilded with a higher karat gold.
An item covered with silver is not gilt or gilded, the term silver gilt refers to silver covered with gold. The spoon looks to be in good shape, if there is not the slightest trace of gold, even on the sides of the inner cutouts, it likely was not gilded. Even production items at that time were routinely treated in a way that would render the finish quite durable, normal wear excepting.
When not made of silver, tableware and similar items were often made of white brass , commonly plated with nickel to impart a durable, tarnish resistant surface, silver plating was also used and can be identified by it's characteristic black oxide or tarnish, nickel tends to hold a bright gray finish, only turning black under unusual conditions.
sixela
Dorée is indeed gold-plated. Are you sure it's that mark, and not the one on the upper right or another (Christofle uses other marks than these, an octogonal or diamond shaped one with three stars at the top for sterling silver, amongst others)? For the plated items, an oval meant silver and diamond meant gold, IIRC. Also IIRC, those two at the bottom were extras, in addition to the upper right poincon.

Here's one on a gold plated item (with the Christophle bar and the poincon on the upper right all on one side and the "poincon spécial" for gilded metal on the left):
IPB Image

If it's really that mark, it could be something originally gold plated but then resilvered later.
Stroller
This is the closest I can get with the camera.

Click to view attachment
Stroller
Click to view attachment
Stroller
I did find this page from their catalog published in 1898 but it's not a very good pic.

IPB Image
sixela
It's not the lower right one for gold plated (that one has two stars, this one has three).

The last scan says: "For knives and small pieces, the oval shape is replaced by an oblique square (square shaped lozenge) set in a square."

In that case, if there's a guarantee of a certain thickness for the silver, it's indicated with a separate poincon.

So it appears it was used for silver plated small items and knives (and just means that it's indeed made by Christofle and silver plated).


pierreverte
There is no known gold-plated version of this spoon, nor any originally gold-plated vintage absinthe spoons.
Kirk
Gilt tableware is rare even among commonly used items, not surprising there are no gilt absinthe spoons.
The gold tableware I have seen was a gold colored alloy containing no gold, and no gilding.
Stroller
Thanks for the info. Looks like a keeper to me.
pierreverte
yup!
Artemis
It should be in a museum.
Artemis
It should be in a museum, or even better, at a Louchefiesta, so the unwashed can feel of its argent vibe.
G&C
Indeed!
Stroller
QUOTE(Artemis @ May 23 2011, 05:53 PM) *

It should be in a museum, or even better, at a Louchefiesta, so the unwashed can feel of its argent vibe.


I'll leave that to absinthe's perfidious purveyors of pompous piety.
pierreverte
More people will see and appreciate it if you use and enjoy it yourself, than if it were in any museum.
sixela
QUOTE(Kirk @ May 23 2011, 06:35 PM) *

Gilt tableware is rare even among commonly used items, not surprising there are no gilt absinthe spoons.
The gold tableware I have seen was a gold colored alloy containing no gold, and no gilding.

Oh, I've got gold plated tableware all right. "Vermeil", 2.5 micron thick 10 carat gold plated. It's not all gold but it's also not devoid of gold.

Kirk
Of course it exists, but it sounds like your piece is not vintage.
Provenance
QUOTE(pierreverte @ May 24 2011, 12:38 AM) *
More people will see and appreciate it if you use and enjoy it yourself, than if it were in any museum.

Now that makes sense.
sixela
QUOTE(Kirk @ May 24 2011, 01:58 PM) *

Of course it exists, but it sounds like your piece is not vintage.

Quite. But the piece on the photo a few posts earlier is, though, AFAIK. Of course, that could indeed not be gold, but "vermeil" is found in a 1775 encyclopedia ("les orfèvres nomment ainsi les ouvrages d'argent qu'ils dorent au feu avec de l'or amalgamé"), and gold continued to be used when that term was used less often and people spoke of "argent doré".

But you're right that anything before 1984 and that looks "doré" (gold coloured) doesn't have a legal guarantee of gold in the plating.
Artemis
QUOTE(Provenance @ May 24 2011, 02:41 PM) *
QUOTE(pierreverte @ May 24 2011, 12:38 AM) *
More people will see and appreciate it if you use and enjoy it yourself, than if it were in any museum.

Now that makes sense.


Snicker.
Tibro
There is a certain humor in Pro agreeing with PV implicitly advocating the use of sugar.
Provenance
Indeed!
G&C
I use spoons and grilles all the time.
In fact I have a bit of a collection of very nice pieces made by our very own Master of Silver.

Sugar has never touched any of them in my presence.

They sure do break up the drip and slow it down for less splashing in the glass.
Artemis
It seems that the use of words such as orfèvre and doré for things that involve silver (or even other metals) and not gold is akin to the laziness that led to "dialing" a telephone that has nothing even resembling a dial on it.
sixela
QUOTE(Provenance @ May 24 2011, 05:00 PM) *

Indeed!

Three spoons here at home, and I never add sugar. Go figure.
Stroller
I keep about a dozen for entertaining. Other than that, they're not used.
Artemis
I have about three dozen, but I keep them locked away where nobody can see them, use no sugar, and stir my absinthe with a bamboo chopstick.
Provenance
I've have several of Kirk's masterpieces. Maybe I need to get a chopstick.
Artemis
They work okay for coffee, too.
Provenance
It would be a reason to stop using my finger.
sixela
What are you going to use to type? Your nose?
Tibro
I can only imagine where his finger's been that he wouldn't want to stir his coffee with it.
Provenance
Funny you should mention that. I drink coffee black so there's no need to stir.
Tibro
If you think it's civet butt it tain't …
Provenance
You drink that fancy people's coffee.
Shabba53
It's quite tasty for something that's been in a monkey's butt.
thegreenimp
blink.gif Ack!

P.T. Barnum was right.
Tibro
The thought of him sucking some monkey-fucker's dick is disgusting. Not surprising, just disgusting. Butt to each his own, to turn a phrase.
Shabba53
I'd never pay for it, but I have a client who is a coffee aficionado who shared some with me. Definitely good stuff.
Kirk
I would not drink that xit if he payed me.
Provenance
If I wanted to consume weasel shit, I would be at The Other Forum.
Jaded Prole
With pinkies raised!
Tibro
As they say, there's no accounting for taste.
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