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Bowl ''Pure'' Silver. Early 20th Century

SKU: Sterling Silver Bowl $295.00
Assay mark ''P silver'' (pure silver) and Hallmarked ''WP.'' Hexagonal bowl with scalloped edges and lightly etched panels alternating with repoussed panels. An unusually high silver content. Measures: 12.3cm. in diameter x 4.8cm. high. Complete with clasped velvet lined box. Early 20th Century. Sterling silver is an alloy of silver containing 92.5 percent by mass of silver and 7.5 percent by mass of other metals usually copper. The sterling silver standard has a minimum millesimal fineness of 925. Fine silver (99.9 percent pure) is generally too soft for producing functional objects: therefore the silver is usually alloyed with copper to give it strength but preserving the ductility and beauty of the precious metal. Other metals can replace the copper usually with the intent to improve various properties of the basic sterling alloy such as reducing casting porosity eliminating firescale and increasing resistance to tarnish. These replacement metals include germanium zinc and platinum as well as a variety of other additives including silicon and boron. A number of alloys such as Argentium sterling silver have appeared in recent years formulated to lessen firescale or to inhibit tarnish and this has sparked heavy competition among the various manufacturers who are rushing to make claims of having the best formulation. However no one alloy has emerged to replace copper as the industry standard and alloy development is a very active area. Etymology: The earliest attestation of the term is in Old French form esterlin in a charter of the abbey of Les Praux dating to either 1085 or 1104. The English chronicler Orderic Vitalis (1075 - c. 1142) uses the Latin forms librA sterilensium and librA sterilensis monetA. The word in origin refers to the newly introduced Norman silver penny. The most plausible etymology is derivation from a late Old English steorling (with (or like) a ''little star'') as some early Norman pennies were imprinted with a small star. There are a number of obsolete hypotheses. One suggests a connection with starling and another a supposed connection with easterling a term for natives of the Baltic or the Hanse towns of eastern Germany. This etymology is itself medieval suggested by Walter de Pinchebek (ca. 1300) with the explanation that the coin was originally made by moneyers from that region History: There is general agreement that the sterling alloy originated in continental Europe and was being used for commerce as early as the 12th century in the area that is now northern Germany. In England the composition of sterling silver was subject to official assay at some date before 1158 during the reign of Henry II but its purity was probably regulated from centuries earlier in Saxon times. A piece of sterling silver dating from Henry II's reign was used as a standard in the Trial of the Pyx until it was deposited at the Royal Mint in 1843. It bears the royal stamp ENRI. REx(''King Henry'') but this was added later in the reign of Henry III. The first legal definition of sterling silver appeared in 1275 when a statute of Edward I specified that 12 ounces of silver for coinage should contain 11 ounces 2 1/4 pennyweights of silver and 17 3/4 pennyweights of alloy. From about 1840 to somewhere around 1940 in the United States and Europe sterling silver flatware became de rigueur when setting a proper table. In fact there was a marked increase in the number of silver companies that emerged during that period. The height of the silver craze was during the 50-year period from 1870 to 1920. Flatware lines during this period sometimes included up to 100 different types of pieces. In conjunction with this the dinner went from three courses to sometimes ten or more. There was a soup course a salad course a fruit course a cheese course an antipasto course a fish course the main course and a pastry or dessert course. Individual eating implements often included forks (dinner fork place fork salad fork pastry fork shrimp or cocktail fork) spoons (teaspoon coffee spoon demitasse spoon bouillon spoon gumbo soup spoon iced tea spoon) and knives (dinner knife place knife butter spreader fruit knife cheese knife). This was especially true during the Victorian period when etiquette dictated nothing should be touched with one's fingers. Serving pieces were often elaborately decorated and pierced and embellished with ivory and could include any or all of the following: carving knife and fork salad knife and fork cold meat fork punch ladle soup ladle gravy ladle casserole serving spoon berry spoon lasagna server macaroni server asparagus server cucumber server tomato server olive spoon cheese scoop fish knife and fork pastry server petit four server cake knife bon bon spoon tiny salt spoon sugar sifter or caster and crumb remover with brush. Flatware sets were often accompanied by tea services hot water pots chocolate pots trays and salvers goblets demitasse cups and saucers liqueur cups bouillon cups egg cups sterling plates napkin rings water and wine pitchers and coasters candelabra and even elaborate centerpieces. In fact the craze with sterling even extended to business (sterling paper clips mechanical pencils letter openers calling card boxes cigarette cases) to the boudoir (sterling dresser trays mirrors hair and suit brushes pill bottles manicure sets shoehorns perfume bottles powder bottles hair clips) and even to children (cups flatware rattles christening sets). A number of factors converged to make sterling fall out of favor around the time of World War II. The cost of labor rose (sterling pieces were all still mostly hand made with only the basics being done by machine). Only the wealthy could afford the large number of servants required for fancy dining with ten courses. And changes in aesthetics resulted in people desiring simpler dinnerware that was easier to clean. Hallmarks: Over the years some countries developed systems of hallmarking silver. The purpose of hallmark application is manifold: cents To indicate the purity of the silver alloy used in the manufacture or hand-crafting of the piece. cents To identify the silversmith or company that made the piece. cents To note the date and/or location of the manufacture or tradesman. Uses: In addition to the uses of sterling silver mentioned above there are some little known uses of sterling: cents Evidence of silver and/or silver-alloy surgical and medical instruments has been found in civilizations as early as Ur Hellenistic-era Egypt and Rome and their use continued until largely replaced in Western countries in the mid to late 20th century by cheaper disposable plastic items. Its natural malleability is an obvious physical advantage but it also exhibits medically-specific utility including the fact that it is naturally aseptic and in respect of modern medical practices it is resistant to antiseptics heat sterilisation and body fluids. cents cents Due to sterling silver having a special sound character some brasswind instrument manufacturers use 92.5 percent sterling silver as the material for making their instruments including the flute and saxophone. For example some leading saxophone manufactuers such as Selmer and Yanagisawa have crafted some of their saxophones from sterling silver which they believe will make the instruments more resonant and colorful in timbre.