United States Plique Handmade Spoons

Most European plique-à-jour spoons were made by large jewelers with 100 or more workers in their shops. There were specialists in wirework and special enamelists. Both were supported by apprentices, who I suspect did much of the scut work. Even though they were not made in large quantities, many hands were involved with spoons made in Europe.

In contrast, the spoons in this group, I am sure, were made in small quantities in small US shops, and possibly by a single jeweler, or a jeweler and an enamelist. These spoons, gathered to the collection at different times, are all souvenirs of US cities; they bear no makers’ marks, only Sterling. They have been sawn from flat stock, pierced, enameled, and finally engraved. In some, the handle and bowl are all one piece. In others, the fancy bowl, probably outsourced, has been soldered to the handle. At least four distinctly different styles and palettes suggest four different makers.

These spoons speak of a huge investment of skilled time and talent to produce a product destined for the souvenir market. Bearing the mental image of a 21st century airport souvenir shop in mind, the story these spoons tell continues to amaze me.

United States Plique a Jour Handmade Spoons

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