This intriguing sterling silver cup features the shell of a coconut mounted into exquisite silver. A sublime example of elegant Georgian design, the cup features delicate scalloped edging as its singular motif. It is extraordinary to find such a beautiful example of this lost art, exhibiting a rare combination of classical beauty and exotic charm.
The use of rare and exotic materials such as the coconut became popular across Europe during the Middle Ages, when it was believed that these unique materials from distant lands possessed mystical powers. It was held that they could detect, and even deter, the effects of poison and as such were employed as drinking vessels, often mounted with ornate embellishments of silver. As more trade routes opened up during the 16th century, materials such as the coconut became more widely available, though still only afforded to the wealthy minority in Europe and England. And, while they eventually lost their appeal for their magical powers, coconuts proved an ideal material for cups and pots and retained their popularity as such. Very similar silver-mounted coconut cups can be found in the most respected museum collections including the Gilbert Collection.