Sunday, May 30, 2010

Jewelry Made from Silver Plated Flatware

In his retirement years, my dad made hundreds of jewelry items from plated flatware.  Not only jewelry, but also napkin rings, key chains and belts were some accessories he fashioned from old spoons and fork handles.  He sold these pieces at craft shows, always regaling the customers with stories of how the flatware came into being. 

In 1993, a Dallas newspaper wrote a story about dad's silver pieces and his crafting business.
Dad wrote several volumes of his memories, and one of my favorite stories was about Orange Blossom flatware and how it came to be collected. The gist of the story was that oranges in California were prolific, and these "delicacies" over a hundred years ago made their way from the west coast to the east coast by way of railroad.

Wm. Rogers Company cashed in on the deal of the popular oranges being shipped all over the country, and began plating flatware with orange blossoms on the handles of tableware.  In 1910, Orange Blossom was one of its most popular flatware patterns.

From Charles McCarroll's memoirs:
The railroads had refrigerator cars manufactured to carry ice in order to keep the fruit fresh. Huge ice plants were built in stations across the country. The railcars were moved slowly so that the blocks of ice could be dumped from overhead into the refrigerator cars. The citrus fruits were picked from the trees, wrapped in tissue paper and packed in layers into the special wooden boxes in order to extend the freshness of the fruit. The California citrus growers found that Wm Rogers & Sons were plating silver. They made a deal for them to plate a unique pattern of dinnerware called Orange Blossom with silver.
Our families had numerous pieces of Orange Blossom and did use them. The spoons and tines of the forks were well worn but the handles can be used for key rings

This is a photo of some of Dad's jewelry he made and sold for over twenty years.  These are just the pieces he gave me, among many others.

1 comment:

  1. I wanted to ask if I could use your photos of these gorgeous pieces of jewelry for my blog? I am doing a whole post on what you can do with silverware, other than eat off it ;) I found your dad's work and loved it! Wanted to get permission!! Thanks!



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