Antique Sterling Silver Salt Cellars: Changing Shapes
By Grant Copland
 
 It can be very interesting, when you are collecting antique sterling silver, to watch how a certain traditional piece or item looks and is constructed in different times. One of the things that this writer fines most interesting is antique sterling silver salt cellars.
 
These principles of change and uniqueness are not limited to salt cellars, needless to say, but we can use them as our exemplar. Let's imagine that we're walking down an aisle at an auction and looking at the array of antique sterling silver salt cellars. Try to see everything with your mind's eye.
 
Take a look at this Georgian (George II) antique sterling silver salt cellar hallmarked in London in 1745. It has a blue glass liner and hoofed feet and measures two and a half by one inch.
 
Next to it is a pair of salt cellars from the Victorian Era with chased floral decoration and interiors of gilt. Their measurements are the same. Can you see the contrasts as well as the comparable traits?
 
Moving on down the line, we come to a latter-day antique piece, hallmarked in London in 1934. This one is three and a half inches tall and instead of being bowl-shaped like the first three pieces, it is more tubular with flanged top and bottom. There is an engraved coat of arms on it side and it has reed borders. This actually turns out to be a replica of a popular design from 1620. Is it no exquisite, especially in its contrasts with the previous three pieces?
 
Now we come to another pair of antique sterling silver salt cellars. These are entirely unique looking as compared to all four that have gone before. Each one stands on thee “dolphin” feet. Their bowls are shaped like sea shells. There are decorative lines engraved on the insider portion of the shell bowl. On these we find the maker's name engraved, too: George Unite. These were hallmarked in Birmingham in 1877.
 
Next, we come back to the Georgian style, this time finding a gorgeous pair of salt cellars hallmarked in London in 1791. The pair has shaped borders and each one stands on three hoofed feet. These are two and a half inches in diameter—that seems to have been a popular dimension during the Georgian era.
 
Moving, we come to something a little beyond salt cellars: it's a Victorian-era pair of antique sterling silver figural salts. Hallmarked in 1886 in London, these beautiful table wares are in the forms of kneeling boys who are holding giant half-shell (where the salt goes).
 
A collection of antique sterling silver salt cellars having such diversity would be beautiful.

Copyright 2007,Lemur Holdings Pty Ltd, All Rights Reserved. May not be reproduced, reprinted or published without our written permission.
 
Grant Copland is the owner of
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