A Southern Belle Primer goes on to say that we "Southerners are quite committed to silver patterns. We look at the silver selection as closely as some others may study the horoscope. When a girl picks Grande Baroque at age 11, she hasn't just decided how to set her table, she's charted her course for life." Now I don't know about all of that, but I do find "The Twelve Patterns of the Southern Silver Zodiac" quite amusing...
1. Francis I, Reed and Barton: The Belle who chooses Francis I is a girl who wants it all. There are 28 pieces of fruit just on the knife handle. It’s showy and opulent and so is she. A Francis I girl is likely to want a husband, children, a place on the board of the Junior League, and a full-time career. There is no end to what she can achieve, just as there is no end to what she can buy in the Francis I pattern. It comes with pickle forks, tomato forks, shrimp forks, lobster forks, grapefruit spoons, dessert spoons, ice cream spoons, even half olive spoons. Francis I girls are always compatible with mothers-in-law who have Grand Baroque or Burgundy. Their styles are similar.
2. Grande Baroque, Wallace International: This is Francis I with roses instead of fruit. Grande Baroque girls also have a sense of the dramatic. But they often also have a literary bent. That’s why you can buy a sterling silver bookmark in the Grande Baroque pattern. Grande Baroque girls often date boys whose families have the Acorn pattern. But they don’t marry them. It’s just a youthful rebellion.
4. Rose Point, Wallace International: Old-fashioned girls pick this pattern. It’s very popular with girls named Rose. Sentimental mothers who have chosen patterns like Old Master and Eloquence sometimes name their daughters Rose just so they can have a legacy all their own.5. Buttercup, Gorham: Belles who choose Buttercup are always cheerful. They even choose the pattern because it's so uplifting. Buttercup girls have friends with every kind of pattern. They are usually followers rather than leaders, but they are so upbeat it really doesn't matter.
6. Chantilly, Gorham: Belles with Chantilly tend to be a bit prissy. They do best with men whose mothers also have Chantilly. Never put a Chantilly girl with a man whose mother has Francis I or Grand Baroque. They will always be upstaged. Don’t let all that sweetness fool you. Chantilly girls were often fast in high school.
7. Strasbourg, Gorham: Strasbourg girls are traditionalists and just a bit formal. As good Southern girls, they are entranced with anything that’s festive and use their good silver almost all the time. Southern men love girls who pick Strasbourg because when Strasbourg girls bring out the good silver, they also bring out the good food. They don’t mix well with boys whose mothers have Buttercup. They will both always fight for control.
8. Acorn, Georg Jensen: Beware of the Acorn girl. This pattern is lovely but foreign (it comes from Denmark). Girls who pick Acorn are rebellious. They march in parades and sometimes have been known to go to colleges in the East and drink beer straight from the can.
9. Old Master, Towle: Old Master girls have spirit but don’t drift too far from tradition. Because of this they are fiercely attached to their family heirlooms. One Texas Belle got 30 place settings of her groom’s grandmother’s Old Master as a wedding gift. When she got a divorce, she took her husband to court over the Old Master and let him keep the Cadillac without a whimper.
10. Eloquence, Lunt: Eloquence girls like nice things. They expect their husbands to provide. They are extremely loyal whether it’s a boyfriend, a best friend, or a pet. Because of this they get along well with more flighty girls who have Francis I or Grand Baroque.
11. Chrysanthemum, Tiffany: These girls have been known to turn up their noses at Francis I girls. The Chrysanthemums are just as flamboyant and just as demanding. They also usually have a lot more money to spend. Their husbands have to be good providers because they also insist on Tiffany crystal and Tiffany china. This is a relatively new pattern compared to some of the others. Girls with Chrysanthemum sometimes go really wild and live in avant-garde homes. But don’t worry, they still cut the crusts off their tea sandwiches and their daughters always get good recommendations to Kappa, Theta, and Pi Phi.Repousse, Kirk: Repousse is one of the oldest silver patterns. Repousse girls often have mothers and grandmothers who also have Repousse. One Charleston woman explains every woman in her family for three generations chose Repousse. Then her son married a woman who didn’t even have a silver pattern. The mother-in-law insisted she pick something out and had relatives fill in the place settings. When the new bride completely bypassed Repousse by calling it “too fussy,” the mother-in-law knew the marriage wouldn’t last. And it didn’t.
Do you have a silver pattern? If not, it is never too late to start your collection! Which one is your favorite? And if you are from the South and haven't read this book, I highly recommend A Southern Bell Primer: Why Princess Margaret Will Never Be a Kappa Kappa Gamma, written in 1990 by the late Marlyn Schwartz, former columnist for The Dallas Morning News. It is full of wise words on the importance of charm, hair spray, the Junior League, sororities, thank you notes, finger bowls, chicken salad, iced tea, deviled egg plates, and much more. An updated version, A Southern Belle Primer: Why Paris Hilton Will Never Be a Kappa Kappa Gamma, was released in 2006.