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Antique Garden Fairies Figural Napkin Ring

Antique Garden Fairies Figural Napkin Ring

$225.00

While napkin rings were an invention of the European bourgeoisie, silver plated figural napkin rings were almost exclusively an American product of the Victorian era. First patented in 1869, figural rings soon filled entire pages of Victorian silver plate catalogs. By the mid-1880's, Reed and Barton offered 43 figurals, the Meriden Silver Company listed 35, with other American silver companies of that era offering many others. Figural rings were popular during the late-1800s, but after 1900 fewer and fewer are seen in silver plate catalogs until they are entirely gone by the first decade of the new century.

Each family member had their own ring, usually received as a gift, with their initials or name on it. The name not only showed possession but was a matter of sanitation as well. The vast majority of Victorian families did not wash their cloth napkins after each meal but only after a number of uses.

Many figural rings were intended to represent certain aspects of the owner's personality, character, pets, occupation or interests. Others figures represent characters or themes in nursery rhymes and stories, popular sports and hobbies and other Victorian interests.

Dating from the late 1800s, we are so pleased to present this charming Garden Fairies Figural Napkin Ring. Produced with a quadruple plate finish by the long-shuttered Wilcox Silver Company of Connecticut, this beautiful ring features a pair of winged garden fairies supporting the highly decorative ring. The napkin ring is hand-engraved with the name Mary and the entire piece stands confidently on its small ball feet. With all the splendor of the Victorian era, this storied figural napkin ring is sure to become a beloved addition to your collection. 


Strictly one-of-a-kind and subject to prior sale. In very good antique condition. Approximate overall dimension: 3.25"L x 2.5"W x 3"H.

Learn More About Victorian Quad Plate

Quad plate, or quadruple silverplate, is a level of silverplating that used 4 times the standard amount of silver in the plating process. It was considered the highest quality of silverplating during the late 19th century. In the silversmith and silver manufacturing industry of the time, "standard" silverplate used 2 troy ounces of pure silver to electroplate 144 teaspoons, while 8 troy ounces of silver were used to quadruple plate those same 144 teaspoons.

Victorian Quad Plate pieces are often best left with their original darker patina. Buffing with a silver polishing cloth or hand-polishing with a good quality silver polish can brighten and maintain the finish, but attempting to strip away all the tarnish will often lead to unsatisfactory results. Avid collectors of Victorian quad plate generally appreciate and expect the original darker patina. 

*History of Figural Napkin Rings and Victorian Quad Plate courtesy of Mark Chervenka and Abe Silverman.

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