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Hosts and hostesses of beautiful tables have cause for celebration—the exceptional sterling silver flatware of Ercuis is available in America. Started in 1867 by Adrien Céleste Pillon, a French village priest, Ercuis became one of the more prestigious purveyors to The Orient Express, the Normandie, The Ritz, and The Plaza Athénée. Ercuis crafts flatware in solid silver and silver plate, as well as some stainless patterns, but why bother with that when the character of the silver is so seductive and satisfying?
Each piece of Ercuis is hallmarked with two motifs, the "master" pattern, comprised of a centaur and the Ercuis initials enclosed by a diamond, and the state pattern, the head of Minerva, both of which guarantee the purity of the silver at .925 and attest that it was made in France. The distinctive Turenne knife, with its round handle, is often paired with the three-pronged Brantome fork. Both patterns, along with Valois, are classics inspired by Louis XIII; Rocaille, Contours, and Coquille all draw their inspiration from the period of Louis XV; Perles evokes the sobriety of Louis XVI; Empire bears Napoleonic attributes; and Noailles evokes the days of Louis Philippe. The wonderfully contemporary Citeaux, i silver plate, is sculptural. Available at Neiman Marcus. $260-$850 per set. For more information, call 877-323-9312.