SMP Logo
SM Publications
Silver Salon Forums - The premier site for discussing Silver.
SMP | Silver Salon Forums | SSF - Guidelines | SSF - FAQ | Silver Sales

The Silver Salon Forums
Since 1993
Over 11,793 threads & 64,769 posts !!
American Sterling Silver Forum
How to Post Photos REGISTER (click here)

customtitle open  SMP Silver Salon Forums
tlineopen  American Sterling Silver
tline3open  Dilemma . . .

Post New Topic  Post A Reply
profile | register | preferences | faq | search

ForumFriend SSFFriend: Email This Page to Someone! next newest topic | next oldest topic
Author Topic:   Dilemma . . .
blakstone

Posts: 493
Registered: Jul 2004

iconnumber posted 04-14-2013 08:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for blakstone     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was recently given a bag of broken and otherwise unwanted old silverplate odds and ends to dispose of. Most pieces were truly trash, except for a pair of worn but otherwise serviceable pickle tongs (which I kept for the next pickle castor I come across) and these, which at first glance appeared to be a pair of silverplate toothpick holders, but quickly revealed themselves to be a pair of silverplate napkin rings modified to that purpose. Or were they?

After good cleaning, I was so pleased with them that I wish I had taken a “before” picture to document the transformation. From a pitch-black and muck-filled mess emerged a beautiful pair of marked sterling silver Wood & Hughes aesthetic period napkin rings, with unusual “herringbone weave” ground and elaborate his-and-hers monograms. I can’t say that napkin rings have ever been my thing as either a scholar or collector, but there’s no denying that this is a fine pair indeed. I’m quite taken with them, and more than a little annoyed at the later “repurposing”. Which brings me to the dilemma.

Should I have the silverplate bottoms (one helpfully stamped “Made in USA”) removed? Though definitely silverplate, they have been very skillfully added with silver solder, not lead, but even so I suspect they could probably be removed. But I’d hate to risk damage by either the torch or the polishing wheel simply for the sake of purity. They’d certainly be worth more in their original configuration, but then again I’m not really interested in selling them, either. So I ask your opinion: do I risk damage by restoring them, or leave them alone?


IP: Logged

Scott Martin
Forum Master

Posts: 11202
Registered: Apr 93

iconnumber posted 04-14-2013 09:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
WOW they are really great. I wonder what they were re-purposed for?

I wonder if this is job for one of the new lasers used in jewelry and smithing? I hope one or more of our smith members has some advice.

The photos are great.
Thanks for sharing.
smile

IP: Logged

nutmegr

Posts: 57
Registered: Jun 2005

iconnumber posted 04-14-2013 10:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for nutmegr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think they make a great looking pair of shot glasses!

IP: Logged

taloncrest

Posts: 169
Registered: Jun 2004

iconnumber posted 04-14-2013 10:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for taloncrest     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'd lean towards leaving them as is. They are truly beautiful, but I could understand why someone might repurpose napkin rings, especially if they were family pieces. I have a few, but I have no real use for them.

IP: Logged

ahwt

Posts: 2022
Registered: Mar 2003

iconnumber posted 04-14-2013 11:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ahwt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think I would talk with a silversmith about returning them to their original state. They are particularly attractive napkin rings and the herringbone pattern is very unusual.
We on occasion use still napkin rings for their original purpose; particularly when our children and grandchildren come for a few days. They really do have fun picking out one they can use.
There really is no reason to not use them even on a one time basis as they are an attractive way to hold a napkin.

IP: Logged

agleopar

Posts: 824
Registered: Jun 2004

iconnumber posted 04-15-2013 03:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for agleopar     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by blakstone:
Which brings me to the dilemma.

Should I have the silverplate bottoms (one helpfully stamped “Made in USA”) removed? Though definitely silverplate, they have been very skillfully added with silver solder, not lead, but even so I suspect they could probably be removed. But I’d hate to risk damage by either the torch or the polishing wheel simply for the sake of purity. They’d certainly be worth more in their original configuration, but then again I’m not really interested in selling them, either. So I ask your opinion: do I risk damage by restoring them, or leave them alone?


Blakstone, They are really handsome and I might be tempted to restore them.

If you go the restore route it is probably a simple job. I would be inclined to cut out the bottoms, not try to heat and unsolder which would leave a residue and very carefully bring the cut edge back to the original surface. There would be slight evidence if it was done well.

I say probably because until one can see them it is hard to tell if there is something tricky or odd that would make it a hard restoration. My guess on the time it would take would be well under an hour.

IP: Logged

seaduck

Posts: 335
Registered: Dec 2006

iconnumber posted 04-15-2013 03:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for seaduck     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here's another way of looking at it: If you kept them as they are, would/could you use them? They are lovely, and as you don't use napkin rings, perhaps it would be more fun to accept them as is.

They look like they might be a little taller than many napkin rings. So I could imagine they might hold all sorts of things besides toothpicks with your shrimp bowl: poseys, flashdrives, Q-tips, stamp rolls....

IP: Logged

Polly

Posts: 1843
Registered: Nov 2004

iconnumber posted 04-15-2013 09:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Polly     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Oooo, those are beautiful!

If they were mine, I would have someone carefully remove the bottom (as agleopar suggests), since we use napkin rings at our table. But since you don't use napkin rings, I second seaduck. Shot glasses? Egg cups? Mint dishes? Medicine cups?

IP: Logged

chicagosilver

Posts: 227
Registered: Aug 2005

iconnumber posted 04-16-2013 10:42 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for chicagosilver     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If you're not interested in selling them, then why not just keep them for scholarly purposes as an example of remuddling?

IP: Logged

agleopar

Posts: 824
Registered: Jun 2004

iconnumber posted 04-16-2013 10:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for agleopar     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Remuddling. Love it!

IP: Logged

blakstone

Posts: 493
Registered: Jul 2004

iconnumber posted 05-30-2013 09:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for blakstone     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Update. After thinking about it for over a month, I finally showed the napkin rings to my silversmith friend. He agreed that they were just too nice not to be restored to their original form. He noted that the bottoms were lead-soldered after all, so removing them would be quite easy. Et voila!

I think it was the right decision, no?

IP: Logged

nutmegr

Posts: 57
Registered: Jun 2005

iconnumber posted 05-30-2013 10:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for nutmegr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Beautiful! (I'm particularly fond of the monograms!)

[This message has been edited by nutmegr (edited 05-30-2013).]

IP: Logged

ahwt

Posts: 2022
Registered: Mar 2003

iconnumber posted 05-30-2013 10:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ahwt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Great decision. I know you will enjoy them.

IP: Logged

Scott Martin
Forum Master

Posts: 11202
Registered: Apr 93

iconnumber posted 05-31-2013 09:29 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From the photos it doesn't look they were ever modified. Job well done.

Even modified they looked great. Now they are in their original form and beautiful.

IP: Logged

doc

Posts: 701
Registered: Jul 2003

iconnumber posted 05-31-2013 06:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for doc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
They look great!

IP: Logged

Polly

Posts: 1843
Registered: Nov 2004

iconnumber posted 05-31-2013 09:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Polly     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Fabulous!

IP: Logged

vathek

Posts: 961
Registered: Jun 99

iconnumber posted 06-01-2013 12:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for vathek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Would the lead have posed a health hazard if they were used to drink from? In which case removing the bottoms was the smart thing to do.

IP: Logged

agleopar

Posts: 824
Registered: Jun 2004

iconnumber posted 06-02-2013 09:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for agleopar     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Vathek, yes, a small hazard. It could have been silver plated but the restoration is much better!

Good call Blakstone they look great. Can I ask who the smith was?

IP: Logged

blakstone

Posts: 493
Registered: Jul 2004

iconnumber posted 06-03-2013 12:47 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for blakstone     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for the compliments. My friend's name is Ellis Joubert, a very talented New Orleans metalsmith, known as much for his restoration of edged weapons as silverware.
quote:
As Good as Old
Master silversmith Ellis Joubert can flawlessly re-create the works of old masters to help restore antique pieces with broken or lost parts.

Laura Claverie

CHERYL GERBER PHOTOGRAPHS

For more than 30 years metalsmith and master silversmith Ellis Joubert has worked his magic on some of the most important pieces of bronze, copper and silver ever made. Patiently, carefully and lovingly, he applies his vast knowledge and experience to precious metal antiques.

Using handmade French tools, some dating back to the mid-1700s, and working out of a small New Orleans workshop, Joubert is one of a handful of craftsmen in the country who can restore or re-create the metal works of old masters. He is, in many ways, a throwback to the past. Like the craftsmen who came centuries before him, Joubert works from his cluttered studio and lives in an apartment above it. His black Labrador retriever, Moe, is always close by.

Workbenches made from old tree stumps display some of his craftsmanship. Nearly 100 antique hammers hang on the walls. Small jars of European metal wax fill the shelves, and cotton cloths rest atop counters. Papers and notes are scattered helter-skelter. To the uninitiated, it’s a bit chaotic, but to him, it all makes sense.

Joubert has restored metal artifacts for museums, historic homes, churches, private collectors and antique dealers from all over the world. His work comes to him by word-of-mouth, and he has never advertised. The work, it seems, finds him.

An elegant 1840s silver hot water urn, made of coin silver, a silver used before the sterling standard was established, rests on one workbench. Its top was lost, and the current owner, a Memphis collector, wanted Joubert to research and create a new one. Interestingly – and luckily – he had made an identical top as a student at LSU and still owned the original wax mold in a long-forgotten box.

“There are no shortcuts to the work I do,” he says. “It’s all by hand.” Indeed, countless hours will go into this project over the period of three months. In creating the urn’s top, Joubert will use many tools, including 15 to 20 different hammers, each curved in a different way, as he gently taps, taps, taps the silver into shape. He’ll buff it until the patina emerges to create a gloss exactly like the original piece. The years that separate the 170-year-old urn from its new top will be indiscernible.

An 18th-century bronze Roman statesman figure is another project. Joubert’s task is to re-create the standard the ancient soldier once held and to bring the bronze’s patina back to its original beauty.

“In figural bronzes, surface is everything,” he says. “The restorer has to figure out how the surface was prepared, the type of finish used, the process of application, the color. As a final step, the old European masters hired apprentices to rub their hands over the pieces to soften the finish. Basically, they caressed the piece until the gloss was perfect.”

Over time the bronze statesman’s head was flattened, and the softly etched curls were gone. Joubert has delicately carved new hair for the elegant soldier. “It’s sort of a ‘Bronze Hair Club for Men,’” he says, laughing. It is almost impossible to tell where the old hair was and the new “toupee” begins.

Joubert took a circuitous route to becoming a renowned metalsmith. He spent time at Delgado studying aviation maintenance and later at LSU majoring in Asian studies, history and architecture. But it was in his metalsmith and jewelry-making class that everything clicked.

He also credits his now-deceased grandfather, a master machinist and early aviator, for planting the seeds early in his life.

“I used to work with my grandfather in his shop, and even as a child, I was drawn to the metalwork he did on outboard motors and small engines,” he says. “The work I do is like that, with a big historical, creative bent.”

He is a student of the masters, and early Gorham silversmiths and those of the Martele period are also favorites.

“The work done by the French and early Russians is unequaled,” he says.

By any standards, Joubert's work rivals the best of his generation. The centuries-old bronze, copper and silver pieces in his eccentric workshop have all been brought back to life under his care and will thrive for generations to come.


IP: Logged

Kimo

Posts: 1577
Registered: Mar 2003

iconnumber posted 06-03-2013 04:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kimo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I do not normally use napkin rings except at major holiday dinners, but if I had some that are as high quality and beautiful as those I think I would use them every day.

Getting them restored was the right call, especially since you had access to very talented smith to do the job right.

IP: Logged

agleopar

Posts: 824
Registered: Jun 2004

iconnumber posted 06-03-2013 10:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for agleopar     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks Blakstone, I'm glad I asked I had never heard of him and it is always good to know of another smith. If I ever make it to N.O. I will enjoy looking him up.

IP: Logged

All times are ET

next newest topic | next oldest topic

Administrative Options: Close Topic | Archive/Move | Delete Topic
Post New Topic  Post A Reply
Hop to:


Ultimate Bulletin Board 5.46a


1. Public Silver Forums (open Free membership) - anyone with a valid e-mail address may register. Once you have received your Silver Salon Forum password, and then if you abide by the Silver Salon Forum Guidelines, you may start a thread or post a reply in the New Members' Forum. New Members who show a continued willingness to participate, to completely read and abide by the Guidelines will be allowed to post to the Member Public Forums.
Click here to Register for a Free password

2. Private Silver Salon Forums (invitational or $ donation membership) - The Private Silver Salon Forums require registration and special authorization to view, search, start a thread or to post a reply. Special authorization can be obtained in one of several ways: by Invitation; Annual $ Donation; or via Special Limited Membership. For more details click here (under development).

3. Administrative/Special Private Forums (special membership required) - These forums are reserved for special subjects or administrative discussion. These forums are not open to the public and require special authorization to view or post.


| Home | Order | The Guide to Evaluating Gold & Silver Objects | The Book of Silver
| Update BOS Registration | Silver Library | For Sale | Our Wants List | Silver Dealers | Speakers Bureau |
| Silversmiths | How to set a table | Shows | SMP | Silver News |
copyright © 1993 - 2019 SM Publications
All Rights Reserved.
Legal & Privacy Notices