Details: 63 gms. Enamel, Silver-gilt Spoon Set, Meka Sterling Denmark.
Dispatches from a small business in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Dimensions: L 9.5 x 2 cm.
Weight in grams: 63.
Condition: Excellent condition – barely used with minimal signs of wear.
At the start of the 1940s the jewelry arts were interrupted by the onset of World War II. Precious metals, especially platinum, were rare and in some instances forbidden to be sold. Palladium was substituted for the platinum being used in the war effort. In order to eek the most out of the available gold, a low karat gold alloy was used with a higher copper percentage. This resulted in gold with a subtle but distinctive reddish tinge, indeed through the cunning use of alloys, gold appeared in multiple colors within a single piece. Gold was manipulated in various ways; woven, braided and coiled. Resilla, cannetille and lacy filigree patterns reappeared in jewelry. Various textures were juxtaposed within a design putting matte finish next to bright to accentuate the design. Gold became the quintessential jewelry metal of the 1940s and 50s.
Enameling is a decoration technique in which a glass of certain composition is fused to the surrounding or under laying metal. Although the exact origins are unknown, the art of enamelling has been practiced since ancient times. The favor of adorning jewelry with bright colors has always existed and the use of glass created colors which nature – in the form of gemstones – could not provide for in ancient times. Excavations on Cyprus – in the Mediterranean – in the 1950's brought cloisonné enameled jewelry to the surface which dates from the 13th and 11th century BC. These are, to date, the earliest enameled items found in this particular technique.
Silver-gilt or gilded/gilt silver, sometimes known in American English by the French term vermeil, is silver (either pure or sterling) which has been gilded with gold. Most large objects made in goldsmithing that appear to be gold are actually silver-gilt; for example most sporting trophies (including medals such as the gold medals awarded in all Olympic Games after 1912) and many crown jewels are silver-gilt objects. Apart from the raw materials being much less expensive to acquire than solid gold of any karat, large silver-gilt objects are also noticeably lighter if lifted, as well as more durable (gold is about as heavy as lead and is highly malleable and easily scratched). Compared to objects made of ungilded sterling silver which have intricate detail like monstrances, gilding, which limits oxidation of the underlying metals, greatly reduces the need for cleaning and polishing, and so reduces the risk of damage to them. The "gold" threads used in embroidered goldwork are normally also silver-gilt.