Excellent 5 piece place setting for 12 in French sterling silver with gold plate. This service is sublime. The Empire styling includes strapped handles with floral and foliate details; of particular note is the detailing towards the termination upon a finely textured ground. The handles terminating with a cartouche comprised of two swans' heads with intertwining necks enveloped in between two wings, all exquisitely and finely detailed. The swans facial expressions are precious! They appear to be with beautifully perplexed, whether this pertains to having intertwined necks and heads and confusion regarding uncoiling the arrangement? Who ca say? It is delightful. There is a monogram on the one side: I will hazard the guess 'EGB'. But it is just a guess. The pieces further adorned with French Empire stylized acanthus leafs on the backs; this styling element nails the period. All pieces are plates with gold. Condition of the set is very good. The original steel blades show some normal oxidation; these have been professionally polished so you will barely notice this. There is some minor loss to the vermeil here and there; only one piece, a knife, has loss that is actually noticeable. In all, a beautiful 5 piece place setting for 12, that is very exciting and will enhance any fine dining event you host.
Marks: Each piece bears the Minerve 1st titre; French guarantee for .950 sterling silver. And the makers punch Ascanio R B for Regina Benvenisti, 8 rue Martel, Paris, active in 1893, is present on each handle, and on the vermeil knife blades, and the name Benvenisti is imprinted, engraved, on the steel blades (further endorsing their authenticity as original to the set!).
Dimensions: The forks are 7.5" long; weight is 54 grams. The spoons are 7.5" and weigh 54 grams. The demitasse spoons measure 5 5/8", weighing 29 grams. The knives are 8 3/8" long, and weigh 53 grams. The sterling silver knives actually weigh 2-3 more grams than the steel bladed knives. The length of the knives is equivalent.
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