According to the hilarious, tongue-in-cheek book, A Southern Bell Primer: Why Princess Margaret Will Never Be a Kappa Kappa Gamma, “some people are born with silver spoons – Southern belles are born with silver patterns.” My family’s silver pattern is Grande Baroque by Wallace, and my Grandmother began my collection when I turned 13. She would always give me place settings and serving pieces for Christmas and birthdays, and while I probably didn’t appreciate it as a young girl as much as I should have, my collection of Grande Baroque is now one of my most cherished possessions.
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…
3. Burgundy, Reed and Barton: This is Francis I without the fruit. Burgundy girls tend to be somewhat shy. They have dreams of being splashy, but they just can’t let go. Louisiana girls love Burgundy. It shows up on a lot of tables during Mardi Gras. They do well with friends who have Buttercup. They are not made to feel too competitive.
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.
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.
12. 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 DallasMorning 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.