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Saturday, October 29, 2016

Santons or "Little Saints"

I've never really been much into dolls, but these figurines are a bit different. These are French santons made in Provence. Santon means “Little Saint”. These charming clay figurines date to the 1700’s in France. During the French Revolution citizens were denied the freedom to worship as they pleased. Especially during the Christmas season nativity displays were forbidden. So the locals started making small figures representing everyday life such as farmers, weavers, bakers and fishermen. Each figure carries an item to represent their profession. These characters were placed in shop windows and homes but on Christmas Eve the Christ Child would be placed among them and the simple peasants stood in for the Magi bearing their humble gifts for the baby. Santons are still made in Provence today and are valued by collectors.

Santons are lovingly made by artisans who sign their work usually by a stamp in the clay.

The attention to detail is amazing.

I love seeing the simple peasants gathered around the Holy Family.

So if you see a little French peasant doll, remember the story of the Little Saints who  have come to worship the Christ Child.
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Monday, October 24, 2016

Danish Sterling Tray

Five years ago I posted about my love of silver trays which you can read about HERE.  I use them for home decor on my walls, in tabletop vignettes or holding toiletries in the bathroom as well as serving elegant desserts.

I've been an antiques dealer for about 15 years and vintage silver trays are always a popular item in my shop. But as I mentioned in my old post these are silver plate trays, not sterling, which is very pricey! (And hard to come by).

As a dealer, I frequently get asked what my best "find" has been. Well, here it is - a sterling silver tray from Denmark that I found at an estate sale! A friend invited me to the sale knowing there would be some silver items that I might be interested in. I bought several silver trays, bowls and other serving pieces that were all quite tarnished and in need of a good cleaning. I was charged $1 a piece.

  I was drawn to this tray in particular as it has the stylings of a Georg Jensen piece. Georg Jensen was a very well known Danish silversmith and jewelry maker.

Here's the tray I found, and 
here is the Georg Jensen. Very similar!

  It wasn't until I got home and cleaned this piece up that I saw the marking on the bottom, "sterling". Wow, what a find! And I only paid $1.00!

I think this is one reason why so many of us love collecting - it's the thrill of the hunt and never knowing what treasure might be found today! 
Happy hunting!
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Monday, October 10, 2016

Jefferson Cups

Are you familiar with Jefferson cups? They are easily recognizable by their short, rounded stature and smooth polished surface. The history of these cups date to 1810 when it is said that Thomas Jefferson had been bequeathed two silver cups by his friend George Wythe. Jefferson liked them so much that he had the cups melted down and made into 8 smaller cups by silversmith John Letelier.

Jefferson cups are traditionally made of silver or pewter and are perfect for adding a monogram or medallion. New ones can be ordered from the Monticello gift shop, but I often find them while thrifting or antiquing at very reasonable prices.

        Most Jefferson cups feature a hallmark on the bottom.

I like to use them in the bathroom for drinking or holding   toiletries. They also make great candy or nut cups or would                    look elegant used as desk accessories.

        Jefferson cups are a lovely traditional gift item with 
                                     a nod to history.

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