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What Are the Different Types of Cutlery Patterns?

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  • Written By: Karize Uy
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 20 August 2016
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Cutlery, also known as silverware, is available in many different patterns. Although simple, straight edges are popular, many people look for more complicated designs to coordinate with dishes or dining room decor. Some of the many cutlery patterns include the rattail, the Grecian, the Fiddle, the Dubarry, the scroll, and the King's pattern.

One of the most common and simplest cutlery patterns in the rattail. This pattern appears as an upward curve — or a tail — at the top of the silverware’s handles, hence the term “rat tail.” Cutlery with a rattail pattern are usually left unadorned, with no added lines and engravings. Aside from being one of the simplest, the rattail is also one of the oldest cutlery patterns, with its origins going as far back as the 1600s in England.

For a more straight-edged design, cutlery patterns such as the Grecian can be chosen. The trapezoid shape at the end of the handle usually distinguishes this design. This pattern is said to evoke the shapes of Grecian architecture, especially the columns of the Ionic type, in which the base is slightly wider. The Fiddle cutlery pattern is another clean-cut design that features a larger handle shaped like a violin or a fiddle. Both of these designs are ideal for casual lunches and informal dinners.

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A Victorian-inspired pattern is the Dubarry cutlery pattern, harking back to the 18th century. The pattern acquired its name from King Louis XV’s beloved courtesan, Madame DuBarry. Cutleries bearing the Dubarry pattern feature a pointed, diamond-shaped handle, with repeated lines going down the stem to emphasize the shape. Some cutlery patterns inspired by the Dubarry pattern use soft and curved lines to create a smooth and flowing outline.

Another one of the more popular cutlery patterns is the scroll pattern, which imitates the coiled appearance of the scroll. Usually, the pattern is composed of soft, curved lines that have a twirl at each end. Silverware sets include this pattern on the handle, but serving spoon ladles also have the scroll pattern embossed inside their concave head. For a more intricate design, the scroll pattern can also be combined with leaf and flower designs.

One of the more intricate and distinct cutlery patterns is the King’s pattern. The pattern specifically uses images of the honeysuckle flower to decorate the handles, which are then shaped like an hourglass. Soft and curved lines are added to enclose the honeysuckle. The Queen's pattern is a more decorative version of the King’s pattern, with more twine-like lines to embellish the flower. Cutlery bearing this elegant pattern are often reserved for very special dinner occasions.

A similar, but simpler, version of the King’s pattern is the shell pattern, as the shell image looks like the honeysuckle when engraved on the handle. In the shell pattern, the embellishing lines are removed, and only the shell is left. The shell engraving can also be carved into different cutlery patterns, such as in the fiddle that has a wider handle.

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