This week while processing some new upcycled silverware jewelry creations, I noticed that most silverware pieces feature flowers as part of their design if not the whole design. For example, the spoon ring above is really all about Lilies as the design is a Lilly all the way around. Same with the spoon cuff bracelet featured showing a full design of a carnation.
If you look at most of the silverware pieces we use for our upcycled silverware jewelry creations, I’d say that abut 75% of the pieces feature or include flowers as part of the design. While I am not completely sure why flowers have such a presence on vintage and antique silverware, I suspect it may have something to do with the secret flower language called Floriography that was popular in the previous century.
During the Victorian Era, giving a bouquet of flowers was more than simply a kind gesture or gift of beauty. These bouquets were often intended to convey a secret feeling or a message to the recipient. This was known as Floriography, or flower language and is not too different from modern day emojis. Often these bouquets were very cryptic and conveyed a feeling or idea that could not be spoken in the oh-so-proper Victorian times. The beauty of this method of delivering a message is that any meaning could be easily denied, thereby absolving the giver of any inappropriate and or socially unacceptable thoughts or behavior.
Eventually dictionaries were written to help decode the meaning of flowers and by the turn of the 20th century, you could find about 98 different dictionaries across the United States alone.
But it wasn’t just the types of flowers presented in the bouquet that conveyed meaning. There were other types of messages as well from the hand which the flowers are presented (given to someone using the right hand, indicated the answer “yes” to a question. Given to someone using the left hand, indicated the answer “no.”) to the colors of the flowers themselves (red suggests passion, white suggest purity, etc.).
There are many online sources for the meaning of certain flowers. But since we are make jewelry out of silverware, we are going to list only those flowers that we see most often on antique silverware.
(Note: While flower colors are not depicted on antique silverware, it is still notable and interesting information and we are including it here.)
CARNATION - Fascination; Divine Love; womanly love; devoted love
DAFFODIL - Regard; Unrequited Love; You're the Only One; The Sun is Always Shining When I'm with You
IRIS - Fleur-de-Lis, Emblem of France: Your Friendship Means So Much to Me; Faith; Hope; Wisdom and Valor; My Compliments
LILY-OF-THE-VALLEY - Sweetness; Tears of the Virgin Mary; Return to Happiness; Humility; You've Made My Life Complete
MAGNOLIA - Nobility
ORANGE BLOSSOM - Innocence; Eternal Love; Marriage and Fruitfulness
PEONY - Shame; Gay Life; Happy Marriage
ROSE (note there are many more than listed here)
The next time you receive flowers, or perhaps an upcycled silverware spoon ring, spoon cuff bracelet or other upcycled silverware creation with a floral motif, think twice about what the giver may be trying to say overtly or not-so-overtly.
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