Monday, July 24, 2017

The Twelve Patterns of the Southern Silver Zodiac

Us Southerners know how attached families are to their "silver."  Nothing could be funnier than the "Twelve Patterns of the Southern Silver Zodiac" as outlined in A Southern Bell Primer: Why Princess Margaret Will Never Be a Kappa Kappa Gamma. Or you might read the newest version, Why Paris Hilton Will Never Be a Kappa Kappa Gamma.  And no, I am not making this up. To quote the author,
“Some people are born with silver spoons – Southern belles are born with silver patterns.”

 1. Francis I Reed and Barton   The Belle who chooses Francis I is a girl who wants it all. There are twenty-eight 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 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. Grand Baroque Wallace International    This is Francis I with roses instead of fruit. Grand 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 Grand Baroque pattern. Grand Baroque girls often date boys whose families have the Acorn pattern. But they don’t marry them. It’s just a youthful rebellion.

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 just 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 thirty 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. They 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.

12. Repousse  Kirk  Repousse is one of the oldest silver patterns. These girls often have mothers and grandmothers who also have this pattern. One Charleston woman explains every woman in her family for three generations chose this pattern. Then her son married a woman who didn’t even have a silver pattern. (uh oh) 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.

The reality is that there is some truth in all this. This is great fun, and I cannot wait to share with my sisters, who are more attached to their silver than I am to mine.  And mine is Chantilly.


  1. I was given this book as a gift when I graduated high school and was heading "North" to go to college. Great entertainment value and a solid gift for any Southern lady!

  2. So funny! My mom is from Missouri but she could still be be mistaken for a lady from the deep South (although she is very informal) and she chose Strasbourg when she and my dad had enough money to invest in a silver pattern. My mother-in-law was born in Maryland and raised from middle school age in Florida (her mother was from North Carolina) and she chose Buttercup. Since my mom had the silver, I never chose a silver pattern, and my first stainless was a match for the Strasbourg (my choice would have been "1800" stainless or Eighteenth Century Reed & Barton silver). We inherited the Buttercup a few years ago and use it every day in honor of my husband's parents (my choice and suggestion). They used it everyday because my father-in-law insisted. The really amusing thing was that the stainless I was using before the silver was a copy of Repousse and I loved it most of all the patterns I have seen, though Eighteenth Century is a close second.. I have no idea what that would indicate in terms of this book.


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