Bespoke Vintage Hand Cut Christening Silver Spoon

The background of tradition of gifting a silver spoon:

We all know somebody who was “born with a silver spoon in his mouth.” That lucky friend who inherited money or to whom wealth, health and happiness came without any effort on their part. And, admit it, we are just that tinsy winsy bit jealous.

Well, how did family wealth and easy good fortune become associated with a commonplace eating utensil? Spoons have been around for thousands of years. Most early spoons were wooden spatulas or even re-worked seashells. The Greeks and Romans did manufacture the occasional spoons of gold, silver and bronze, but the most common materials, as in the later Medieval period, were wood, pewter and bone. It is probably in the 15th and 16th centuries that the link between fortune and spoons became established. By Tudor times, it was not uncommon for godparents in wealthy society to present their godchildren with a Christening gift of silver Apostle Spoons. A set of twelve spoons, each with an image of one apostle on the handle was a prestigious Christening gift. An alternative was a set of four spoons representing the evangelists, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Silver spoons are still given as Christening gifts and Baptism presents today, but Apostle Spoons are less common and more difficult to find. In the sixteenth century a silver spoon was still pretty rare, so any child receiving such a Christening gift would have to come from a wealthy background. Some of the most recent medical research suggests they were also blessed with a bit of luck. Silver spoons and teethers have been popular for centuries, but it is only in the last few years that the antibiotic properties of silver have been recognised.

The spoon I picked was a, George Adams made for the Chawners company and it is fully hallmarked for London 1848. So the spoon itself is over 170 years old. It was in really good condition despite me purchasing it for scrap value.

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Step 1: Tools Required

The tools needed to create this are:

Sterling Silver Spoon

Jewellers piercing saw

Piercing saw blades

A selections of needle files

A couple of pencils (4B) and Markers

Step 2: Outline the Design

Create the outline for your design. It is important to try and keep the text font the same size across the word and to ensure you done run out of space. You also have to make sure that the letters aren't hanging in free space. This means making certain that each letter is connected to the edge either by font design or by the addition of small designs to create a bridge. In this particular design you will notice the addition of stars for this purpose. Once you have created you design using the pencil. (i found a softer leaded pencil is best) You can go over the outline with a permanent marker. The thickness of this line will be the thickness of the finished design.

Step 3: Drill Holes

Drill some holes to allow the piercing saw blades fit through. I found a miniature hand drill the best for the process. Holes must be small enough to allow the saw blade through but not to cut into the letters. Letters such as E's, O's and A's have small gaps that for this font size needed holes of less than 1mm.

Step 4: Lots of Cutting

Using the piercing saw, cut around the outline ensuring that you keep the saw moving in a smooth motion. The piercing board is useful for to support the spoon as it allows you spread the pressure over a greater area and so help with holding the spoon down. That said if I were to redo this project I would definitely look a better more secure way of work holding.

Step 5: Filing, De-Burring, and Polishing

Using some of the needle files, smooth out any irregular shapes, or edges. The edge finish can be improved by cutting small slivers of wet and dry paper (i used 800grit) and flossing the edges to improve the edge. When finished you will have created a lot of burrs. To de-burr I used some more fo the wet and dry paper to sand the burrs smooth.

Using some low abrasive polishing compound, polish the surface for the spoon. It came up suprisingly good for a 170 year old spoon that had just had a major makeover.

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