Today, we’re going to learn about napkin rings, where they came from, and why people use them. Why napkin rings, you ask? Well, because I myself was curious about them. Who decided that napkins needed to accessorize? After doing a little research, I’ve decided to share my findings with you.
Napkin rings––occasionally called a serviette ring––are an invention of the European bourgeoisie, the wealthy middle-upper class. They first appeared in France in about 1800, and quickly caught on amongst the bourgeoisie. That’s right; the French invented this beautiful addition to the table settings, good news for all you Francophiles out there.
Different people and families soon developed their own unique designs for showing off their wealth and prestige to friends and guests. A variety of different materials were used. The most common rings were made out of silver, but others were made with bone, wood, pearls, porcelain, glass, and other materials. Soon, the use of napkin rings spread to all countries in the western world. They’ve been an integral part of fine dining ever since.
The figural ring is where things start to get fancy. On a figural ring, the napkin ring is part of a small figure or sculpture that may be of any shape or motif. For example, our Rustic Butterfly Napkin Ring features a butterfly crafted with enameled metals, and accented with several jewels.
Napkin rings are often single items that bear the name or initials of its owner, are notably given as christening presents, or may be presented in a pair as gifts at a wedding. Of course, you can always get one simply because you like its beautiful design and want to add a little French beauty to your table setting. For a simple, classy brunch with friends, get some of your favorite flowers to use as a centerpiece, and accompany it with matching napkin rings, whether they be Blue Flowers, Purple Flowers, or Pink and Yellow Flowers.
Napkin rings were originally used to identify household napkins between weekly wash days––as in, their napkins had a week of filth accumulated before they were washed again. (Now, let’s all take a moment to savor modern hygiene standards.) Since we’re far more hygienic than the people of olden days (they often used a single wash tub full of water to do all the house laundry, or they took it down to the local river), we don’t quite use them that way any more.
Of course, I much prefer our way; these days, napkin rings are used to make any table setting, whether you're using French tablecloth or table runner, more beautiful. They add a touch of class to any dining situation, whether it be with friends or family. As with the French of old, you can choose the design you feel best represents you. If you’re a free spirit, why not get a Blue Bird Napkin Ring, the symbol of freedom?
If you believe in working hard and getting the best for you and yours, adorn your napkins with the Bee Jeweled Napkin Ring, featuring the busy bee inset with several beautiful gems . Increase the glamour and pizzazz of any dining situation by mixing and matching three or four of them.
My personal favorite from our collection is the Fancy Bird Napkin Ring. I love the way it beautifully depicts a bird in flight with ornate, carefully designed materials and craftsmanship.
What’s your favorite napkin ring design? Let us know in the comments below!