It’s so easy to turn to department stores for homeware pieces nowadays. Our consumer culture has allowed aesthetically-pleasing things that look like they could have come from high-end sources more accessible, but beneath the good looks, they’re only replaceable ephemeral pieces that can’t hold much sentimental value.
Curating an entire lifestyle of elegance is what Christofle tries to achieve through their table silverware. From the founding year, 1830, the House has expanded to jewelry, homeware accessories, and furniture to reach more aspects of the “art of living.” Christofle has also collaborated with a number of artists to be on the same ground as with creative trends and to translate them into fancy silverware.
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Manual expertise in silversmithing
What Christofle is really proud about is the work they have put in to sharpen their mastery of silversmithing—from silver-plating using electrolysis, making use of electricity, and honing the perfect shine with enamel, lacquer, and brass finishes.
But one of the major secrets to all of the House’s silver pieces is the very hands of the Christofle Master Silversmiths. The label’s fine silver pieces are manufactured mostly, if not entirely, by hand using traditional methods of spinning, planishing, chasing and engraving. Some of these steps had been updated according to the current trending styles, yet all of the skills acquired from the very beginning until today are always handed down to apprentices to continue the House’s legacy and manufacturing tradition.
This ‘tradition’ is also evident among Christofle’s constant creations that are revivals of pieces from history. Some other masterpieces are the result of collaborations with artists and designers, or personalized orders. But whatever the brand produces, its signature fine silver is always evident.
Variety of materials
The use of various materials for the structure and finish of Christofle’s pieces play a huge role in ensuring their overall aesthetic and presentability. Silver plating, or simple putting a silver coat on other metals, is the one thing that dates back to the founder himself, Charles Christofle, making it a preserved legacy. He was the one to develop this method and it’s used for all of the House’s silver pieces excluding only jewelry.
Gold plating, on the other hand, is used more as a complement than a central detail. Partial gold plating adds to the decorative aspect of table utensils and to the subtlety of delicate jewelry. Traditionally, this is a practice made for royals because of the extensive mastery required to perfect it and the extra vibrant quality the final product exudes.
A recent addition to the House’s roster of materials is the stainless steel, which is another alternative to white metal. Its edge lies on being easy and more convenient to use, and accommodating to the majority’s casual lifestyles. But above all these materials, sterling silver characteristically remains the mark of the Christofle brand, mainly because it can be used on almost all of their pieces, especially the wearable ones.
Christofle hallmarks on fine silver
In a world where dupes are thriving, originals have a higher and more exclusive quality. Christofle enables theirs to be easily recognizable and trackable with multiple hallmarks on every piece that trace them all back to the House. These hallmarks are the vintage Christofle mark—a number label that matches the one in their master register, and a certificate of authenticity detailing the marks and the piece’s history.
Wearing or owning fancy-looking silverware can help you project a persona with an elegant lifestyle, but it’s still only based off of appearances. Any jewelry-obsessed woman would know the struggle to preserve the original brilliance of every piece in your collection. Silver is not made to last forever, but Christofle makes it easier with their new technology to delay the oxidation of their silverware, whether tableware or jewelry pieces. There’s nothing that solidifies good taste than patronizing the authentic and the original.
Branching out to jewelry
Christofle’s answer to the challenge of the changing times is expanding its range of products to jewelry. It started in the ‘80s: the gradual slowing down of the market for fragile and high-end tableware but it’s going down more quickly now. In 2005, the House started making their own range of jewelry products. This way, the tradition of silversmithing was kept, while the House is also able to catch up with the shift in the market.
All of Christofle’s jewelry play with curved and circular shapes and patterns to showcase its technical ability to manipulate and create different variations of the silver and gold material. This is done without too many added elements, with the exception of the occasional pearl accents. The House’s silver creations usually appear as necklace pendants, bracelet charms, and rings and earrings.
Spanning almost all of art’s major movements, Christofle’s long history has allowed it to shift and adapt to the evolution of styles and lifestyles of people. Their pieces have been used by royal families, in restaurants, and on board different high-end transportation vehicles. The House is on top of its game when it comes to refining old techniques to merge with the present. Wherever you’ll find Christofle’s silver pieces, you’re assured that they’ve all been crafted and treated with careful precision that’s been practiced for almost two centuries. Indulge yourself and let them grace your dining table the next time you host a dinner reunion for your friends. Afterall, with Christofle, all you’ll find are pieces that are worth your investment.
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