A Collector’s Guide: French Late 19th and Early 20th Century Silver

 A Collector’s Guide: French Late 19th and Early 20th Century Silver

Step into a rarefied world of opulence and craftsmanship with our Collector's Guide to French Late 19th and Early 20th Century Silver.
Step into a rarefied world of opulence and craftsmanship with our Collector's Guide to French Late 19th and Early 20th Century Silver.

A s many wise collectors of antique silver know, French silver has been admired, cherished and collected for centuries - especially ornate items dating back to the 17th and 18th century. In this article, we'll explore the legacy of renowned French silversmiths and silverware companies that shaped an era of elegance and artistry. From the innovation of Christofle to the timeless elegance of Puiforcat, each piece tells a story of French craftsmanship at its finest. So, whether you're already exploring this fascinating genre of classic design or are new to the game, join us as we unravel the history and beauty of these exceptional silver creations.

Christofle : A Must-Have!

Christofle is a renowned French silverware and tableware company that has a rich history dating back to 1830. It was founded by Charles Christofle in Paris, and the company quickly gained fame for its exceptional silver products. Christofle was a pioneer in using electroplating techniques to create high-quality silver-plated items, which were more affordable than solid silver.

Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, Christofle produced silverware, flatware, and decorative items that were highly sought after by European royalty, aristocracy, and the elite. The company's designs often reflected the artistic and cultural trends of the time.

Odiot : The Elegant One 

Odiot is a renowned French silversmithing company with a distinguished history dating back to the late 18th century. The company was founded by Jean-Baptiste Gaspard Odiot,in Paris in 1690. Under Jean-Baptiste Claude Odiot leadership, Odiot quickly gained recognition for its exceptional silverware and luxury items, and where rewarded by the prestigious orders of the French Imperial family. Later he became the official supplier to King Louis-Philippe and the Orleans family, see this royal silver-gilt coffee-pot :

The company's work embodied the craftsmanship and artistic styles of its time, evolving from the opulent Rococo designs of the 18th century to the elegant Empire and Art Deco styles of later eras.

Tetard : A Distinguished  History

Tétard Frères is a distinguished French silversmithing company with a history rooted in the 19th century. Founded in 1850 by two brothers, Charles and Louis Tétard, the company quickly gained recognition for its exceptional silver and silver-plated objects.

The Tétard Frères workshop, located in Paris, became known for producing high-quality pieces that were celebrated for their exquisite craftsmanship and attention to detail. Their work incorporated a variety of styles, reflecting the design trends of the time, from the ornate and intricate designs of the Belle Époque period to the sleeker and more modern Art Deco styles of the early 20th century.

The company continued to thrive until the mid-20th century, but like many other silversmiths, it faced challenges due to changing consumer preferences and economic factors. Tétard Frères eventually closed its doors in the latter half of the 20th century. Despite its closure, Tétard Frères' legacy endures as a testament to the excellence of French craftsmanship in the field of silver and metalwork. Antique Tétard Frères pieces are highly collectible today and are regarded as both works of art and symbols of a bygone era of luxury and elegance.

Aucoc: The Master of Goldsmiths

Aucoc is a celebrated French jewellery and silversmithing firm with a distinguished history, dating back to the 19th century. Founded by Jean-Baptiste Aucoc in Paris in 1821, the company quickly rose to prominence for its exceptional craftsmanship and innovative designs.

Jean-Baptiste Aucoc was a master goldsmith, and his workshop became renowned for producing exquisite jewellery, silverware, and objet d'art. Aucoc's work was characterised by a harmonious blend of classic French design elements and influences from the prevailing artistic styles of the 19th century, like this flatware with the monogram of Francisco Xavier Terry, owner of the château de Chenonceau:

During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Aucoc embraced the Art Nouveau and Art Deco movements (like the centrepiece illustrated below), creating pieces that reflected the changing aesthetics of the time. Their work became a symbol of luxury and sophistication.

Puiforcat : The Intemporal One 

Puiforcat is a renowned French silverware and jewellery company with a history steeped in craftsmanship and artistic innovation. Founded in 1820 by Émile Puiforcat, the company quickly gained prominence for its exceptional silver creations.

From the start, Puiforcat distinguished itself through a commitment to quality and innovation. The company was at the forefront of the Art Deco movement in the early 20th century, creating pieces that embodied the sleek, geometric, and modern aesthetic of the era. The more famous pieces where designed by Jean Puiforcat (1897-1945).

Puiforcat's commitment to excellence led to numerous prestigious commissions, and its pieces were used by aristocracy and prominent figures. The company's creations are characterized by their timeless elegance and meticulous craftsmanship, like this flatware :

Boin-Taburet : The Historical House of Silver

Founded in 1818, it is one of the oldest silver houses in France. The company was established by Jean-Pierre Boin and Victor Taburet, and their partnership laid the foundation for the creation of exquisite silver and silver-plated items.

Boin-Taburet quickly gained a reputation for producing exceptionally crafted silverware and tableware, earning favor with nobility, royalty, and aristocracy. Their designs combined traditional craftsmanship with innovative techniques, reflecting the artistic styles of the 19th and 20th centuries. He worked and exhibit many objects at the Paris Exposition Universelle de 1889, like a pair of the model illustrated here :

French & Continental Furniture

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