The Art Nouveau style was very popular during the 1890 -1910 time period and reflected a move away from the previous Victorian art style.
(note: technically there is an accent mark over the last 'e' in cloisonne)

Cloisonne is a centuries old metalworking technique for relatively small objects of high value wherein very thin silver wires are soldered to a silver/gold surface in such a way as to create cells (cloisons).
Enamel powders are then placed in the cells and the item is heated in a kiln until the powders turn into a liquid (different temperatures for each color).
After the object is cooled, the surface is worked so that the cell walls are at the same height as the enamel.

The technique was used in China, the Byzantine empire, Europe and only to a limited extent in the USA

Today, China mass produces cloisonne items on an immense scale (with relatively low prices) and this process is now very automated. That was not true when these spoons were made.

This exhibit shows two particularly nice examples of art nouveau cloisonne enamel spoons.

art nuevo cloissone enamel spoons
These spoons use sterling silver as the base metal and use sterling silver wire to create the  cloisonne design. They have also been gold plated.
Both of these spoons were produced by the short lived New York silversmithing firm of Bachrach & Freedman (1895-1900)

Notice that in some of the cells, multiple colors of enamel were used. This is a more difficult technique and requires additional experience.

The styling of these spoons with their curvy handles and 'c' shapes is very common to the art nouveau era.

If you are observant, the right spoon has small holes in the bowl which made it into a strainer.

art nouveau cloissone enamel spoons

this is the back view of the spoons
As you can see there is beautiful workmanship on both sides

Visit the art nouveau spoon exhibit

Visit the art nouveau nudes spoon exhibit

Visit the cloisonne spoon exhibit

Return to the spoon exhibits index