New Publication: Nicolas Besnier (1686-1754), Architecte, orfèvre du roi, et échevin de la Ville de Paris

Nicolas Besnier (1686-1754) was the son of François Besnier - the Chef du gobelet of the French king - and Henriette Delaunay. His uncle was the goldsmith Nicolas Delaunay and his godfather the sculptor Corneille Van Clève. Nicolas Besnier made the journey to Italy between October 1709 to October 1712 to study Architecture at the Académie de France in Rome. There he won the first prize for architecture at the Académie de Saint-Luc in 1711. Besnier became a Master goldsmith in 1714 and held lodgings in the galleries of the Louvre from 1718. A letter of patent dated 1st September 1723 appointed him goldsmith to the king. He worked for the French court, notably in replacing the king’s ordinary dinner service, and in supplying diplomatic requirements, as well as for a number of important patrons including: the comte de Tarroca, the comte de Pontchartrain, the duchesse de Retz, the duchesse d'Harcourt, the maréchal de Castries, the duc de Bouillon, the duc and duchesse de [Read More]

New Publication: Nicolas Besnier (1686-1754), Architecte, orfèvre du roi, et échevin de la Ville de Paris2024-04-03T18:34:50+01:00

British Silver Caddy Spoons: The Lion Collection.

This new and comprehensive book covers a single major collection of caddy spoons from the 18th century to the present day. Well-illustrated with 1000 colour images,  the privately published work includes a foreword and introductions by John Gibbens, Alastair Dickenson, Simon Moore and Anthony Bernbaum.  If you are interested in a copy, please contact the Society of Caddy Spoon Collectors using their website contact form, or Anthony Bernbaum at  The book is 400 pages long and priced at £55 excluding P&P.

British Silver Caddy Spoons: The Lion Collection.2024-03-28T18:34:20+00:00

New Publication: French Precious Metal Marks from 1789 to the Present Day

Les Poinçons Français des Métaux Précieux de 1789 à ce Jour. Following the interest aroused by the chapter on hallmarks in his book Traditional French Jewellery (2021) Michael Fieggen has continued his research into this field and has now published a complete guide to all 276 French hallmarks used from 1789 to the present day. The book is illustrated with original drawings, each of which has been checked against the actual hallmarks, and in most cases a photograph of the mark is also included. The dates of the introduction of the marks and when they were withdrawn have also been carefully researched: until now such dates as were published were based on the dates of the hallmarking legislation but archival research has revealed that some marks were not used until later or were withdrawn earlier than was believed. The book contains a list of all the assay office marks included within French hallmarks that facilitate identification of the place of origin of both silverware [Read More]

New Publication: French Precious Metal Marks from 1789 to the Present Day2024-02-20T20:27:35+00:00

Book Launch: Antwerp Gold and Silver Marks 1456-1798

(International Event) The DIVA Museum (Antwerp) will be hosting a book launch on Friday 1 December for a new publication by the silver specialist, Anne-Marie Claessens-Peré. The book, Antwerp Gold and Silver Marks 1456-1798 (Antwerpse goud- en zilvermerken 1456-1798) is the first systematic overview of city seals, year marks and master marks used in Antwerp between 1456 and 1798. Published in Dutch by the DIVA museum in cooperation with the non-profit Academy for the History of Goldsmith Art in Belgium, the book contains several firsts such as new identifications and the discovery of Antwerp objects dating from the 16th century in foreign institutions. The book will be on sale in the museum shop from 1 December at €59 The speeches during the book launch will be in Dutch, but most attendees also speak English so English speakers are welcome. Programme: 16.00: Doors open 16.15: Welcome Ann Kaethoven, Director ad interim DIVA 16.20: Speech Marc Meeùs, President Academie voor de Geschiedenis van de Edelsmeedkunst in [Read More]

Book Launch: Antwerp Gold and Silver Marks 1456-17982023-11-02T23:07:19+00:00

The French Silverware in the Calouste Gulbenkian Collection – by Peter Fuhring

The collection of 18th- and early-19th-century French silverware acquired by Calouste Sarkis Gulbenkian between 1900 and 1950 is the most important of its time and one of the most significant sections of the Gulbenkian Museum’s collection. The collection of over 150 pieces constitutes a unique group due to their diversity and quality; it includes several world-class masterpieces representative of Gulbenkian’s taste. The catalogue is dedicated to a selection of works in silver of different typologies, such as centrepieces, tureens, salt cellars, candelabra and candlesticks, made by renowned silversmiths including François- Thomas Germain, Antoine-Sébastien Durant, Robert-Joseph Auguste and Martin-Guillaume Biennais. Despite this diversity these works all share the characteristics that make this collection unique: quality and authenticity combined with original design, technical expertise and distinguished provenance; former owners include members of the European aristocracy and the Russian imperial family. Most of the works were purchased in Paris but there is an important group of works from the Hermitage collection, acquired following negotiations between Calouste Gulbenkian [Read More]

The French Silverware in the Calouste Gulbenkian Collection – by Peter Fuhring2023-06-30T10:48:37+01:00

Novel Ideas: A selection of fiction titles on the theme of silver

For anyone wishing to add a little silver-related fiction to their reading list, this post features a running list of suggestions. Do get in touch if you have any recommendations or would like to see your novel featured! Argentum by James Leslie-Melville (The Book Guild, 2023) The Silversmith's Daughter by Annie Murray (Pan, 2019) The Silversmith's Wife by Sophia Tobin (Simon & Schuster, 2014)

Novel Ideas: A selection of fiction titles on the theme of silver2023-03-07T22:13:00+00:00

Touchstone, Trade & Transgression – By Robert Grice

This hardback informative reference book is for those interested in fraud relating to silverware and precious metals, and tells the story of the enforcement of hallmarking legislation. The story of hallmarking is told from a unique perspective, through historical facts, literature, poetry, prose, film, and song. The book is comprised of: 628 pages. 149 photographs. a schedule of historical milestones regarding hallmarking. detailed coverage of some specific prosecution cases. a comprehensive index of more than 600 court cases. The book is £35 and the link to their website is

Touchstone, Trade & Transgression – By Robert Grice2023-02-08T10:36:03+00:00

French Silver In The J. Paul Getty Museum

CHARISSA BREMER-DAVID, JESSICA CHASEN, ARLEN HEGINBOTHAM, JULIE WOLFE Published by Getty Publications and Yale University Press, paperback, ISBN: 9781606068281 216 pp, 277 colour illustrations and 4 tables Publication date: April 2023 Members of the Silver Society have been offered a generous discount of 20% on the publication price on the above publication, the first complete study of the French seventeenth- and eighteenth-century silver at the J. Paul Getty Museum, to be published in April 2023. With the generous number of images each piece in the collection will be brought into focus in extraordinary detail including makers’ marks, inscriptions and armorials.  The entries catalogue a total of thirty-three pieces and give descriptions, provenance, exhibition history and technical information and the publication also discusses the formation of the collection.  There are biographies of the makers and a full bibliography. Copies may be ordered using the following codes and links: US and Canada: GPFS23 The offer is available from I January to 30 April 2023 Rest [Read More]

French Silver In The J. Paul Getty Museum2023-02-08T10:02:52+00:00

Exhibition Catalogue of Prediger Museum

Museum im Prediger, Schwäbisch Gmünd 23 October 2022 – 10 April 2023 (Catalogue in German and English, Euros 39, editor Max Tillmann ISBN 978-3936988-39-0) The exhibition celebrates the centenary of the Research Institute for Precious Metals & Metal Chemistry (Forschungsinstitut Edelmetalle & Metallchemie) (FEM) in Schwäbische Gmünd in 1922 and its successful collaboration with the city’s kunstgewerbermuseum (now the Prediger Museum), founded in 1876 to collect models for the city’s thriving goldsmiths’ trade, and the regional gewerbeschule or trade school, specialising in precious metals, in 1860. Over 80 works of art are displayed in different contexts. There are masterpieces from the Prediger’s own permanent and long-term loan collection (including the 6ft high Immaculate Conception by Franz Anton Lang (Augsburg, 1755) from the Holy Cross Minster) as well as productions by Gmund craftsmen. Thematic displays follow, with juxtapositions illustrating forms, techniques, decoration, and finishes, discussed in aesthetic and technical contexts. Effects of colour, light and shade are all explored. The work of FEM in developing [Read More]

Exhibition Catalogue of Prediger Museum2023-02-08T13:28:53+00:00

How did our Garden grow? The History of Hatton Garden.

The great and the good of London’s jewellery trade gathered last month in the Crypt of St Etheldreda’s Church in Ely Place for the launch of a brand-new book on the history of Hatton Garden. It is very rare for so many people representing every aspect of the industry to be in one place: The Clerk of the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths, Sir David Reddaway, the Treasurer of the London Diamond Bourse, David Roffe, Alan Hart, CEO of Gem-A, and other prominent representatives from De Beers, Goldsmiths Centre, Society of Jewellery Historians, Institute of Professional Goldsmiths, National Association of Jewellers among others. In all there were over 70 guests. Moreover, among the distinguished guests was Kurt Eichner, a survivor of the ‘Kinder Transport’ children who escaped Nazi Europe during the war, whose story is told in the book. St Etheldreda’s was completed in 1290 and was a very appropriate setting for such an event. It was originally part of the Palace of the Bishops [Read More]

How did our Garden grow? The History of Hatton Garden.2023-02-06T09:53:51+00:00


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