The Columbus Museum opens “Precious Metal: Southern Silver” Saturday. The exhibit showcases Southern silver from the museum’s permanent collection, as well as silver from museums and private collections in the Southeast.
There are about 100 pieces in this exhibit, all made between 1815 and 1870, said the show’s curator, Kristen Miller Zohn.
While most silver was manufactured in the Northeast, there were silversmiths working in the South, including two in Columbus.
The Southern manufacturers were small businesses, Zohn said.
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This exhibit focuses on silversmiths and their wares from Charleston, New Orleans, Savannah, Mobile and, of course, Columbus.
Much of what you’ll see is “opulent,” she said.
Some of what visitors will see are teapots, egg boilers, toast racks, suspender clips, marrow spoons, flatware and chocolate pots. And many of the pieces are rococo in style, meaning they came from a style popular in 18th century France that featured ornate embellishments like crosses, leaves and animals.
There is also a section of the exhibit that tells visitors the difference between sterling silver and coin silver. It’s a matter of the purity of the silver.
And there’s a section for kids where things like cups, spoons and rattles are on display.
On Feb. 24, there’s a lunch and lecture by Atlanta curator Ashley Callahan, who will talk about presentation silver, which is used in trophies, commemorative items and special gifts for occasions like weddings.