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Set of 7 French & Franklin Vermeil Sterling and Enamel Strawberry Forks - Circa 1896
The handles on these strawberry forks are just great with their wonderful design containing swirling leaves and flowers amid open work areas. The flowers and leaves have lovely dimension with spots of crisp edge rims and accent lines. The company then accented components of the design with a flow on style of enamel primary in turquoise with touches of green and lavender. Adding to the elegant look the forks were designed using vermeil (a form of gold plating) sterling.
The sterling is in excellent condition with no cracks, rips, dents, holes, deep scratches, abrasions or repairs. The only thing I could find was a hint of uneven curve to the tines on the forks as can be common due to usage (see photo # 7). The vermeil is in super condition. I believe it to be a bit lighter then when it was new but it has a warm mellow tone, not gaudy at all. Each fork's vermeil is quite even in appearance as well as matching the other six forks. As stated before the enamel is done in a flow on style that just lays on a surface. This style does not wear as well over the years like guilloche, champleve or limoges enamels do. Our forks retain the majority of their enamel accents but do have incomplete or missing spots as is always found in this style. Photo #4 shows one fork with the remaining six forks seen in photos # 8 & 9.
The marks are on the backside of the fork and read: "French & Franklin hallmark STERLING". The forks measure approximately 4 3/4" long. The top decor measures 1 3/4" tall from the top of the fork to the base of the two flowers on the handle and is 5/8" at it's widest point.
We have had a matching tea strainer twice and have seen a serving spoon and a sugar spoon, all in the past. This is a quality collectable pattern, probably made in afternoon tea and bridge club pieces only.
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Richard W. Bell Owner - Christine Clark Mgr., Orange, CA
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