Ornate Tea Spoon Set

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94Clusiere
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Ornate Tea Spoon Set

Postby 94Clusiere » Sat Feb 12, 2011 2:42 pm

I recently found a set (12) of ornate Russian tea spoons. Each has a gilded edge, and each of the floral designs is unique (not sure if the pattern was repeated between sets or if every single one is hand made and thus unique). Any information on them would be very helpful. Thanks in advance.

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Dad
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Re: Ornate Tea Spoon Set

Postby Dad » Sat Feb 12, 2011 4:10 pm

Hi, 94Clusiere

Your spoon is made at the well-known factory "Северная Чернь"(СЧ). In 1958. Silver - 875.
( viewtopic.php?f=46&t=22167 )

In addition :

"Severnaya Chern

The art of niello silver decoration was once widely spread across many cities in Russia. The pieces created by craftsmen from the town of Velikiy Ustiug were especially well known for their exceptional niello quality and for the exquisiteness of their design. Starting from early twentieth century, the Velikiy Ustiug town — where the Severnaya Chern [literal translation - Northern Niello] factory has been located historically — can by right claim to be the only place in the world to work with Russian nielloed silver.

In developing the traditions of the ancient craft, the creative team at the Severnaya Chern factory has given shape to a new independent and unique trend in jewelry art. One of the most distinctive characteristics of the factory’s jewelry items and other products is their extraordinary execution. Pieces produced by Severnaya Chern have been awarded and recognized at many trade shows and contests, such as “The National Treasures of Russia” and “100 Best Russian Products.” In November 2004, the factory also received international recognition for the quality of its products, the International Star Award 2005.

The creative imagination of Severnaya Chern’s venerable craftsmen, together with the inimitable artistry of its jewelers and engravers, has allowed the Velikiy Ustuig masters to produce true works of art. The pieces of neillo craftsmen from Velikiy Usuig differ from other jewelry items in their matchless ornamentation and their ingenious composition subject. The combination of glittering silver and the dark color of the nieollo alloy gives the Severnaya Chern items a magical look. Moreover, if one is to consider that this hand-made magic is manufactured from such a noble metal as silver, then its future possessor will receive not only aesthetic pleasure, but also an inexhaustible resource of nature’s healing powers. Silver has antibacterial and antiseptic properties and serves as an effective means for disinfection. The Russian aristocracy had passions for silver precisely for this reason. During the times of epidemic illnesses, the aristocrats used silver tableware and were less prone to diseases.

The Severnaya Chern factory produces many varieties of tableware items: spoons, forks, knives, cake spatulas, tea and coffee sets, wine glasses, complete table and dessert sets, cups, trays, vases, and flasks. This is only a limited list of what Severnaya Chern has to offer in its tableware group of products. The many pieces made by Severnaya Chern would be able to create a beautiful setting for any high level official occasion and to adorn each table in accordance with all the proper etiquette rules.

Severnaya Chern also produces all sorts of jewelry items, souvenirs, and piece for use in religious ceremonies. The laconic elegance of forms, the charming perfection of the neilloed decoration, and the faultless execution of every Severnaya Chern items will become that special something in the luxury of any room. The pieces of Velikiy Ustuig craftsmen are sure to represent the exquisite tastes of their owners." (from: http://russianamericanbusiness.org/web_ ... ique-craft )

Qrt.S
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Re: Ornate Tea Spoon Set

Postby Qrt.S » Sat Feb 12, 2011 4:24 pm

What you have is a set of Soviet silver spoons (875/1000), which looks like niello decorated but I don't think they are niello. They are in a way painted. Kindly look closely with a good magnifying glass and you understand what I mean with the painting. A real niello picture is etched and the "scratches" are filled with a mix of copper silver and lead sulfides. You spoons do not look like that, at least not on the picture. Anyway, they are made in Артель Северная чернь (Northern niello artel) in Veliki Ustjug in 1958.

Okapi
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Re: Ornate Tea Spoon Set

Postby Okapi » Fri Feb 18, 2011 9:14 pm

I'm not so sure it's not niello Qrt.S, at my opinion they are normal nielloed spoons, on the last picture you can clearly see the trace of engraving filled with niello, I'm collecting niello since 30 years, and I've seen a lot of those soviet work, here it's not of high quality, but very decorative if you don't take a magnifier and look too close.

Qrt.S
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Re: Ornate Tea Spoon Set

Postby Qrt.S » Sat Feb 19, 2011 3:40 am

Well it is always difficult to judge based on a picture only. However, Okapi what do you call this decoration?
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Okapi
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Re: Ornate Tea Spoon Set

Postby Okapi » Sat Feb 19, 2011 8:17 pm

On this picture it's too difficult to judge if niello or not, but poor execution for a nielloed beaker and style "rustical".
If you have a good picture of just one small part, specially at the end of motives, I can give a better advice.

Qrt.S
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Re: Ornate Tea Spoon Set

Postby Qrt.S » Sun Feb 20, 2011 4:13 am

Correct Okapi, it is difficult to me as well to evaluate your picture. Anyway, I have tried to operate with your last picture and I find it still difficult to believe in niello. It looks painted to me.
Nonetheless, I thought that you would ask for a better/bigger picture so here you have it. If you don't mind, I'd like to see similar magnifications of your object, thank you.
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What is your judgment?

Okapi
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Re: Ornate Tea Spoon Set

Postby Okapi » Sun Feb 20, 2011 3:36 pm

It's really difficult to be affirmative if it's niello or not, on the second picture it seems have some depth, but rounded ends are very difficult to make on a round surface, and uncommon on nielloed work, it is a material similar to niello which is more enamel than painting, french watchmakers used it as a cheaper substitute to niello on inexpensive watches at the beginning of the 20th century.
I will say not at 60%, on niello you can see bubbles with a 8-10x magnification, do you have that on the beaker?

Qrt.S
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Re: Ornate Tea Spoon Set

Postby Qrt.S » Sun Feb 20, 2011 4:19 pm

What I am trying to tell you Okapi is that this is not niello. It is a lousy quality Soviet made silver vodka stopka with a painted black ornament with engravings. It is is supposed to imitate niello and look like it but has nothing to do with real niello.
The picture below is a macro photo in about 15:1 ratio and it shows you clearly that there are no etched scratches filled with niello, It is just black paint on silver. In real niello the surface feels a bit rough. The black area on this stopka is completely smooth and no "scratches" or roughness can be detected by looking at it or felt by touching the engraved ornament excluded of course. I'm afraid that the same goes for your spoons.
I'm sorry for the yellow tone in the picture but it is dark here and I have no daylight lamps available at the moment.

Hence you collect niello objects I hope you haven't fallen in this trap, I really do.
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Re: Ornate Tea Spoon Set

Postby Okapi » Sun Feb 20, 2011 9:24 pm

Thanks for the enlargement, as I said, my opinion at 60% negative is confirmed by your new picture, for identify, as you can see on fist picture below, bubbles are a good information, on the second one, it's niello and near perfect without bubbles, but the color is clearly niello black-blue when not polished.
I'm not interested by soviet time, they have made great work for a few pieces, but I'm not surprised by your copy which reflects more the standard quality.
And the spoons are not mine ;-)

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