Silver has always been prized for its aesthetic and functional value and, in the days before modern banking, as a means of providing ready capital when needed. The Trust’s collection of some 340 pieces includes items made in England, America and Bermuda. Between 1650 and 1900, 38 silversmiths worked in Bermuda, 12 of them born in the island, at least seven of whom trained abroad. This gave Bermuda-made silver pieces an international flavour, although the North American silversmiths definitely had the greatest influence.
To ply their craft, local silversmiths would have melted down some of the silver coin, dishes and old silver in lumps that Bermuda’s thriving privateer industry procured in the 19th century wars between England and France.
Although Bermudian silversmiths made everything from buckles to teapots, perhaps the most commonly owned silver articles were spoons. Families would have had a few spoons of various sizes and used them interchangeably; it was not until the 19th century that serving spoons, soup, dessert and teaspoons were standardised.