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Gorgeous Figural Sterling Tongs~Indian w/Feather Headress~Cross on Chest~Marked?

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Silver1725 of 2417Silver Fade Salad BowlSterling Muddler
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Posted 5 years ago


(290 items)

Hello again,
Yesterday I walked into a shop in Orleans and saw these in a glass case,
I was instantly bewitched!
Very striking indeed! Not perfect, but dazzling in their shape and depiction of what may be a European take on the American Indian.
I couldn't find a mark on them despite the careful going over with the loupe,.....that is until I got home. What I thought were random little dents on the inside appear to be identical, as if they were made by a stamp. I have no idea what the mark might be, but there appears to be a hint of one at least. I was hoping someone would recognize the design or style.
The gent at the shop said they were silver but didn't know what grade, but under a good light at home I was able to make out a very loose 925 in script.
I love them and would love to know more about them, HELP!
a Thousand Thanks,

Unsolved Mystery

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  1. Budek Budek, 5 years ago
    Thanks again Sean!
  2. vetraio50 vetraio50, 5 years ago
    Joan of Arc? Jeanne d'Arc?
    La pince à sucre!
  3. Budek Budek, 5 years ago
    Thanks for the love, Kevin, Sean, & Tony
    and Thank You for the comments.
    Kevin, I wondered about it being Jeanne d'Arc, but it reminded me so much of a cigar store Indian.
    ( I think you're probably right, and that would explain the cross ).
    Do you suppose it may be French, then?
    Have a great day and night,
  4. Budek Budek, 5 years ago
    Hello Brat, Thanks for the love.
  5. miKKoChristmas11 miKKoChristmas11, 5 years ago
    Hi, Budek! Hope you are well. I am AWOL from my duties, but took a break when I saw this in my box. Can’t play much today, but couldn’t resist these gorgeous tongs.

    Not an American Indian. Those are arched ostrich plumes/feathers - like the kind featured in the Princes of Wales 'badge' (apologies if incorrect term) and in other traditional heraldic ‘entities’. American Indian feathers don't 'fold over' like this, and don't exhibit fluidity. Have a look at these links.

    This may well represent St. Joan of Arc, or the French knight in general, or an idealized representation of French chivalry, etc. It might also represent France herself, who was traditionally referred to as “the second daughter of the Church” – the first daughter being Italy. The treatment of the breastplate/mail looks French to me. This is certainly not English, and from what little I can see of the hallmarks, I don’t think it’s American. For that matter, although a pattern based upon knights/classical figures first appeared in American silver in the nineteenth century, and they proved popular in America (e.g., Gorham’s “Medallion” pattern), this doesn’t look American at all to me. The hallmarks are far too small for me to read, but so far I see nothing inconsistent with French hallmarks. (Follows a link to a “Medallion” pattern tea service. Please be sure that you click on the Medallion tea service to view the brief but excellent discussion of the design motifs.)

    Further, the mass and the shape of these tongs - sans molded 'knight/saint' decors, which I have never before seen - are consistent with nineteenth century and early twentieth century French tongs (possibly earlier and possibly later, too). I have not seen any American tongs in this 'mass and shape sans decors'. St. Joan of Arc, who died in 1431, was revered in France for many years before she was officially declared a “Blessed” (1909) and a “Saint” (1920). On the 500th anniversary of her death, 30 May 1931, there was a magnificent public celebration of St. Joan in Rouen France. St. Denis is and has long been the patron saint of France; however, France now has a co-patron saint in St. Joan of Arc.

    Here are some examples that show the distinctive French mass and contour I’m talking about. As for the pinching terminus decors, I have never before seen this on a French tong. I’ve never seen it before on any tong. Of course, I’m no expert!!! : ) FYI, Lion paw tongs are very popular in France.

    Would need a better photo of hallmarks to work on it. Follows a link to some French hallmarks of the period. FYI, these tongs are sometimes – perhaps usually??? – found in 950 silver.

    So glad that you found this beauty!
  6. Budek Budek, 5 years ago
    Hello miKKo,
    I'm not feeling my best, so I'll be short
    Just want to Thank You for all the thought and links,.....really wonderful!
    big hugs, Tony
  7. miKKoChristmas11 miKKoChristmas11, 5 years ago
    Hi, Tony! Perhaps you have contracted the dreaded flu - or one of those other nasty bugs - that have stricken so many. : ( I'll keep you in my prayers until you're chipper again, and I'll let scandi know too. Take care! Hugs, miKKo

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