Tiffany & Co. Silver Salt Cellars from the Hopkins-Searles Service

  • Tiffany & Co. created these salt cellars for the wife of California railroad mogul Mark Hopkins
  • These specially commissioned salt cellars are exquisite specimens of Tiffany & Co. silver artistry
  • Each salt is embellished by an intricate "Gothic" grapevine motif
  • A gold-gilt wash and hairy paw feet make these vessels elegant additions to any fine dining table
  • Get complete item description here
Item No. 30-8017

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Tiffany & Co. created this beautiful set of four silver salt cellars in a majestic grapevine motif specifically for Mary Frances Hopkins-Searles, the widow of "California railroad king" Mark Hopkins. When her husband died in 1878, she inherited the $21-million dollar estate and became one of the richest women in the United States, a status that earned her the moniker "America's Richest Widow." 

Mary Frances would soon marry her decorator Edward Searles, and this caused a huge scandal as she was older than him by 22 years! Together they decided they wanted the finest silver service in existence and they commissioned from Tiffany and Co; to male an extraordinary set, that would never be reproduced. These salt cellars are from this unique service. the expensive part of making any silver pattern was carving the mold for each piece. Thus, the first salt cellar produced would cost roughly 1000 times the cost of the second. Thus, the only way a company such as Tiffany could typically make money was to sell many of the same pieces over and over. 

Tiffany master silversmith Charles Grosjean designed the Hopkins-Searles service in 1884. As seen in these resplendent vessels, the motif incorporates bunches of grapes, leaves, vines and foliate embellishments in what is referred to as a Gothic motif. The salts feature this amazing pattern around the parameter with a gilt-wash interior that adds a luxurious touch to these exquisite rarities. Each salt rests upon four hairy paw feet, which are executed with the precision and expertise for which Tiffany is renowned. Exquisite masterpieces of Tiffany silver artistry, these salts also stand as important artifacts of Americana.

Marked "Tiffany & Co." with the date letter "M", pattern number "7991" and order number "4728".

Circa 1886

8 1/8" wide x 4 3/16" deep x 1 7/8" high

Reference:Tiffany Silver, Charles H. with Mary Grace Carpenter, 1984
Tiffany & Co. Silver Salt Cellars from the Hopkins-Searles Service
Maker: Tiffany & Co.
Period: 20th Century
Origin: America
Type: Cruets/Salts
Depth: 4.19 Inches
Width: 8.13 Inches
Height: 1.88 Inches

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