Being from the South, Silver is a very big part of my life. It doesn't have anything to do with wealth. Although those with more money - old money, tend to have more of it. New money tend not to spend their money on Silver. They do not have the appreciation for the warmth of the metal, the beauty of the patina, the story it tells of the generations past who have used it. A true southern girl comes of age when she chooses her silver pattern, long before she chooses her mate. If she is smart, she chooses that of her mother, grandmother, or favorite great aunt who in their benevolence will pass their silver on to her. It is the pieces in those sets, the pieces on our tables, along with the pieces we find in the corners of the displays in antique stores that prompted me to start this blog. They are beautiful, they are odd, but what are they, and what in the hell do you do with them?
Caviar pieces in patterns vary greatly. There are forks, knives, and spoons. Some have horn, in some very rare cases ivory, but more popular mother of pearl bowls. The school of thought is that the metal bowls of the spoon will give the caviar an "off" flavor. However, since caviar is sometimes packed in metal tins, this cannot be true. It is the sterling that has certain properties that effect the taste of the delicacy. Therefore, most spoons in sterling patterns, if metal, will be gold gilt.
Several pieces can be found dealing with serving ice.
This piece, the Ice Scoop, is available in most patterns today. Like in some other pieces beware of "Custom" pieces (in that they have been reworked by others and are not authentic pieces by the original manufacturer). You can check the list of all original pieces in a pattern to see what pieces were offered (at any time). They will (usually) include on the list discontinued pieces.
(Ice Scoop shown in French Regency by Wallace)
Ice Tongs are used for serving ice cubes and can be very ornate as shown here. They are still found in many patterns today.
Once again the Victorians' germaphobe tendencies came out with this piece. They were concerned about someone "touching" their toast or rolls when being served. The answer - a silver Toast Serving Fork. One would use this to "stab" his bread from the basket then place it on his plate. (According to Amy Vanderbilt it is proper to eat your bread with your fingers, so I guess they just had to deal with that conundrum.) Revere by International (7 3/8 inches)