The lauded 19th century silversmith who designed and created this opulent tea service is affirmed by his small diamond-shaped punch mark, Philippe Berthier, PARIS (active 1841 - 1851, so we know just when it was made. Nothing about the set, it's pristine 18k gold vermeil's condition, nor the condition of the beautiful French oak chest it's in would otherwise indicate an age of 180 or so years - this one is superb! It would appear it has never been used. Often the tea spoons will show marks in on on the bowls, but these appear never to have been touched. Complete and all original, the tea strainer, tea caddy spoon, and tongs for sugar cubes all perfectly match the elegant pattern of the spoons. The French will lay the spoons bowl down, so the backside is the more elaborate with a, oval cartouche worked into the otherwise star and guilloche finish. Full measurements noted on the photos.
Very good to excellent condition for age and type. Again, these are .800/1000 pure silver - the grade typically used for the light and thin sets such as tea or coffee spoons because it is slightly stronger, not prone to bend or dent as easily. The Minerve #2 punch mark is on every piece. And the French vermeil is 18k gold. No rubs or loss to the gold, which is most amazing for a set so old. Interior of the box is pristine, too, silk velvet and silk satin. The box, rather unique really in golden oak, has flat set brass cartouche which has never been engraved/monogrammed (as same with the flatware), and a brass stringing which also is perfect but for a 1mm rise (detailed in photos) which is accounted for as the old wood slightly shrinks with age. No warp, fits smoothly. Has a working lock, but we do not have the old key. Beautiful grain and finish on this chest!