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A rare set of twelve Burmese knives with intricately carved ivory handles

Ivory handles Burma, early 20th century

The handles of ivory each carved with two figures and the metal blades marked “J.A.Henckels, Solingen”, the textile case with a label reading: “Shreve & Co, gold & silversmiths, San Francisco”.

L. 23 cm (each)

In 1731 Peter Henckels registered the “Zwilling” logo with the cutlers’ guild of Solingen. His son Johann Abraham (1771 – 1850) renamed the company after himself and opened the first trading outlet in Berlin in 1818. Today there are shops in many countries and Henckel probably is one of the biggest manufacturers of knives in the world.

In 1852 George and his nephew Samuel Shreve moved to San Francisco from New York, in the wake of the gold-rush, and established the Shreve Jewelry Company.
It is the oldest commercial establishment in San Francisco and among the finest silversmiths in the United States. In 1894 George’s son inherited the business and with a new partner the company was re-named Shreve and Company. Just a month before the 1906 earthquake, Shreve & Co opened a new eleven-story building in San Francisco. It was built according to the latest prescriptions to withstand earthquakes and was one of the very few buildings that survived the earthquake. While it still needed some restorations the company temporarily moved to Oakland where it stayed for two years. Their first flatware products and illustrated catalogues were created at this time.

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