Rites of Passage
Throughout our lives there are significant moments that are marked by the purchase of a piece of jewellery or silver. They mark a special age or event in the time of our lives – for example, the time of puberty, growing up, coming of age, which is also a time when we split away from the family bonds and begin an independent life of our own. The rites of passage are also part of our professional lives such as finishing training, promotion, retirement, or even passing a driving test!
Those moments that our celebrated in our life begin the day we are born when traditionally a silver spoon was given to child. The term ‘born with a silver spoon in his month’ refers to medievil times, when the wealthy aristocrats of Europe used silver utensils whilst most of the peasants were obliged to use wooden spoons to feed their children. The silver spoon indicated inherited wealth and the landowning class always took their own silver spoon to a banquet. Silver spoons have an anti-bacterial effect and water drunk from a silver goblet will have absorbed the beneficial effects of the silver. Silver will also react to poison such as arsenic and will tarnish in the presence of sulfur. Today, silver spoons are traditionally still given to a child as Christening gift.
Other signifiant moments of our lives – reaching the age of 18 or in some cases 21 – getting engaged, married and then the birth of the first baby are important moments in all cultures and marked with special – and often very traditional – gifts of silver.