Sunday, April 24, 2011
Judas is the ONLY man in the New Testament who could not possibly have been GAY!
Because we all know that NO Gay man would have betrayed our Lord for only four place settings and a hostess set! Which brings us to today's topic: vermeil.
We know that the old saw "all that glitters is not gold" is supposed to be a caveat to the simple. However there are exceptions to the rule where gilding the lily is not folly but fabulous.
When gold is plated over the common tchotchke one gets gold plated tchotchkes. Gold so thinly applied that it is precious only in sight. When gold is veneered over bronze l'objet becomes bronze dore. It is also known as ormolu. You will usually hear these words spoken by people who have purchased bronze dore this and ormolu that. Those of us cognoscenti know that this statement assures us only that the piece was cast, probably lost wax cast, and that it is substantially copper. No more, no less.
However, when gold is applied to silver, be it coin silver (80%) or sterling (92.5%) or the magnificent French 1st Minerva (95%), it is accorded the status of vermeil. Now vermeil is a German word pronounced , in German, VER-mul . Few things sound nice in German so the French adopted the German cognate but gave it the glorious French pronunciation ver-MAY. If you have some old family silver, you may notice that some of the work end of the piece is gold washed. This is a preventive measure to protect against pitting when in the presence of those silver adverse twins salt and acid. To call gold washed anything vermeil is a faux pas. To round out this lesson, mes amis, I bring to your attention the phrase parcel gilt. If you have silver where part of the decoration is gilded, it is considered parcel gilt. Because I am a fan of vermeil, parcel guilt seems rather unnecessary but it can be done well. Gorham made a stab at parcel gilding with a lovely pattern named Crown Baroque Gold. The handles are magnificent but the bowls and tines are tragic. One lives, one learns.