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July 02, 2015

Summer Blooms and Butterflies

Charnwood is a gorgeous bone china pattern produced by Wedgwood from 1951 to 1987. The asymmetrical floral design of the pattern features rich colors and verdant foliage replete with butterflies and other insects seamlessly incorporated into the design, complemented by stylish gold trim. In 1759, Josiah Wedgwood established a pottery at the "Ivy House Works" in Burslem, England. During his first 10 years of business, Wedgwood made many advances in the refining of porcelain. One of Wedgwood's most important creations was creamware, true fine china that was easy to produce, relatively inexpensive to make, easily decorated, and desired by royalty and commoner alike. In 1765, King George III's wife, Queen Charlotte, solicited Wedgwood to be "Potter to His and Her Majesty." As a result of his new title, Wedgwood changed the official name of his creamware to "Queen's Ware." Jasperware, a non-glazed porcelain featuring classical figures in bas-relief, was another important invention of Wedgwood's, and has become virtually synonymous with the Wedgwood name.

Reizart Charnia is a lovely blown glass pattern with a concave bowl that flares at the top, knobbed stem, and round foot. The exquisite bowl cuts depict a graceful butterfly amongst leaf and floral designs. If it looks as though Charnia crystal perfectly complements Charnwood china, that's because it was designed specifically for that purpose! The maker, Reizart Crystal, traces its beginnings to 1859, when German immigrant Charles Reizenstein founded the C. Reizenstein China & Crystal Company in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In the 1950s, Charles' son, Louis, created a "Made to Match" product line. To create this line, Reizart purchased "blanks" from glass manufacturers like Duncan & Miller, Morgantown, Seneca Glass, and others (the Charnia pattern uses a blank by Bryce Crystal). The blanks would then be cut and decorated to coordinate with china patterns from companies like Castleton, Franciscan, Lenox, Syracuse, Wedgwood, Minton, and others. The coordinating china and crystal patterns were marketed together in many upscale department and jewelry stores. In the mid-1960s, Gorham Silver purchased Reizart Crystal, and for about five years advertised it as "Gorham/Reizart."

Produced from 1953 to 1991, Gorham Silver Decor (Sterling) is a remarkably graceful flatware pattern! Decor (Sterling) features a flowing asymmetrical design with a pierced handle, a floral and scroll edge, a plumed tip, and a glossy finish. The balance in proportions and shape represents the apex of great design, where each element enhances the effect of the whole. Decor (Sterling) offers an array of interesting place and serving pieces, including salt spoons, jelly servers, tomato servers, and much more. The pattern even includes a beautiful gold wash lapel pin! This elegant pattern was produced by a legendary American company. Its founder, Jabez Gorham, was born into a family of eight and apprenticed to eighteenth-century New England silver patriarch Nehemiah Dodge at a very early age. In 1831, Gorham founded his own company in Providence, RI. He quickly established a reputation for creating distinctive hand-crafted silver of the highest quality. Gorham Silver's reputation for excellence endures today.

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