A very fine 12-piece set of gilt silver and mother of pearl dessert, fruit or cheese knives presented in their original fitted box. The tapered mother of pearl handles are tipped with silver finials and ferules decorated in a Louis XVI-style ribbon and reed motif. Most similar sets have plated blades, but these are silver. The silver is gilt, a process that is decorative, but also serves to prevent corrosion from the salts in cheeses which were often served in France as a dessert course. The gilding has faded to a very nice, light lemony color. The interior lid of the velvet- and silk-lined box is marked by the maker, “J. Fayard/Fabricant Orfèvre Joaillier/St Etienne”.
Origin: France, ca. 1860. Condition: knives are excellent, no dings, no cracks, normal fading of the gilding; the box shows considerable wear and has a slightly warped lid. Size: 7-1/2” long.