The monogram on a
pair of sugar tongs is often an exciting find. A collection of sugar tongs
can be based around monograms alone, just because there are so many
varieties to be seen. Sometimes monograms will have been added many years
after the tongs were first made and it can be very difficult to detect
whether the monogram is original or not. Monograms will normally be
engraved on the bow but can be engraved in other places.
Monograms will have
been engraved at an owner’s request, usually as a form of identification.
The maker of a pair of sugar tongs will usually leave a cartouche to enable
a monogram to be engraved. Again these can be on the bow or on the arms.
The cartouche will often have an elaborate engraved pattern around it.
Sadly monograms were
often removed. With a well done erasure it can be very difficult to detect
that there ever was a monogram, but it is rare to see one that has been that
well done! Sometimes the erasure is very plain to see or you may have to
study the top of the bow very carefully to detect it.
There are really two schools of thought about
monograms and crests, some prefer them to have been removed but most people
would prefer them to remain. The main reason for this being the damage
that is done through removing the monogram.
Throughout this web-site you will be able to see
examples of monograms and family crests of all kinds. Broadly there
are three kinds of monograms or crests to be seen:
Simple capital letters
- these will normally take one of the following forms:
Two letters which will be simply the owner's
Three letters, usually one above the other two -
these will be a betrothal or marriage monogram, the top letter of the
three being the surname and the bottom two letters being the two
Sometimes five letters - this is a peculiarity of
the Channel Islands, usually seen only on Guernsey or Jersey work|
Script engraved letters
- these can take many, many forms and can sometimes be so elaborate that
they can be impossible to decipher Family crests - normally some form of picture, which will represent a particular family
If you decide to specialise in sugar tongs with family crests
then a copy of "Fairbairn's Crests of the Families of Great Britain and
Ireland" will be essential reading, but beware there are vary many
crests and people in those days often made up their own crests -
Other examples of monograms can be found, such as four
letters, two above two or (a later Victorian addition) Gothic letters.
Sometimes the monogram can be engraved inside the arms or bow.
The best way to have information about Georgian Silver
Sugar Tongs always at your finger-tips is to buy the book. This book
has a whole chapter dedicated just to monograms and crests. It is
available from this web-site, simply click the picture!