The Story Behind this Blog

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?

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Chased and Repousse Silver

A quick lesson on Chased and Repousse. These terms often confuse people interested in sterling silver. I hope that this will help explain the difference.

"Repousse" is a French word meaning "to push forward". And that is what the designers do with a Repousse pattern. The design you see is actually pushed out from the back of the silver. Instead of cutting into the metal to "carve" the design, the artist uses tools to push out the design from the back (or inside) to produce a 3D relief. The repousse technique gives a design a sense of volume. A prime example is Stieff Rose by Kirk Stieff: 


Chased on the other hand is when the silver has been grooved or channeled or indented. But not to be confused with any type of engraving

Harold Newman in An Illustrated Dictionary of Silverware says “Chasing. The technique of decorating by handwork the front surface  of an article of silver by indenting it and so raising the design (without cutting into the metal and removing any of it as in engraving), using a great number of differently shaped tracing tolls (‘tracers’) and a chasing hammer.”

An example of chased silver is St. Dunstan by Gorham:

Orange Knife With Silverplate Blade

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