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Silversmithing

by Michael H. Lewis, 2006

"This engraved patchbox, ca. 1720, was used to hold small pieces of fabric that women used as fashion accessories. The maker is unknown." Image available from the NC Museum of History. Silversmithing is usually considered one of the luxury trades, involving the manufacture of silver utensils of a wide variety. These include flatware (forks and spoons); knife handles (hollowware); bowls; tea, coffee, and chocolate pots; serving trays; tankards and cups; and many other accessories, including jewelry. Silversmithing in North Carolina developed more rapidly than in other southern colonies because importation to the colony was limited by the poor coastal harbors. The demand, although somewhat limited in the eighteenth century, increased steadily as the population of the colony grew. The large oceangoing ships from England could not easily trade with citizens of the colony, but smaller coastal schooners from New England and the middle colonies as well as the West Indies established a lucrative silver trade with the early settlers to eastern North Carolina. Silversmiths also were among the numerous settlers who followed the Great Wagon Road from southeastern Pennsylvania during the last half of the eighteenth century. As the century came to an end, silversmiths were working throughout the state in the more populated areas.

"Spoon by John Vogler." Image available from the NC Museum of History. References:

John Bivins and Forsyth Alexander, The Regional Arts of the Early South (1994).

George Barton Cutten, Silversmiths of North Carolina, 1696-1860 (1984).

North Carolina Museum of Art, Two Hundred Years of Visual Arts in North Carolina (1976).

Additional Resources:

Silversmiths of North Carolina, NC Historical Publicans, North Carolina Office of Archives & History: http://nc-historical-publications.stores.yahoo.net/siofnoca16.html

Crafted from Silver, North Carolina Museum of History: http://ncmuseumofhistory.org/silver/index.html

Society of American Silversmiths: http://www.silversmithing.com/workshop.htm

Image Credits:

"This engraved patchbox, ca. 1720, was used to hold small pieces of fabric that women used as fashion accessories. The maker is unknown." Image available from the NC Museum of History. Available from http://ncmuseumofhistory.org/silver/index.html#patchbox (accessed September 28, 2012).

"Spoon by John Vogler." Image available from the NC Museum of History. Available from http://ncmuseumofhistory.org/silver/index.html#patchbox (accessed September 28, 2012).

Comments

Comment: 

i need the exiting system in silver bussiness

Comment: 

I would like to know if I could get a few business names and contact information for silversmith's that make jewelry. There is a ring I have a picture of and would like it to be made in silver if possible.

Comment: 

Thank you for posting your question. Elizabeth Hayden in Reference Services at the Government & Heritage Library will be emailing you to follow up on your inquiry.

Good luck in your search!

Michelle Underhill, NC Goverment & Heritage Library

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Copyright notice

This article is from the Encyclopedia of North Carolina edited by William S. Powell. Copyright © 2006 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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