M.P. Levene Ltd is a small family firm of silversmiths, based in central London. They make the world's finest new flatware -- in sterling silver -- for superyachts and private homes. They have just delivered a huge service of Silver-Gilt (Gold-Washed) flatware in Chased and Pierced Vine pattern to a superyacht on its launch.
The pieces are not stamped out by machine, like most other new silverware. Instead, Levene's craftsmen painstakingly hammer each spoon and fork into shape by hand. This is how all silver flatware used to be made in England, until the beginning of the twentieth century. It's a much longer process, but the quality shines through. Each spoon and fork starts as a flat ingot of silver -- it is then hammered by hand into a special lead die which produces a particular pattern. Some of the dies are two hundred years old.
You will immediately notice that the bowls are deeper; shells, scrolls, grapes and vines are more defined and each piece feels heavier in the hand than today's regular machine-made flatware. The knives are also produced to the highest standard, with stainless steel blades. This magnificent flatware is the height of luxury, and Levene exports it all over the world.
Some patterns are plain, reflecting the traditional Georgian style. Others, which were created during the Victorian era, are more decorative.
A service in sterling silver for twelve people, with some serving pieces, will cost between US $30,000 - US $45,000. An equivalent 'gold-washed' service in Chased and Pierced Vine pattern will cost about US $85,000 - US $100,000. And if you want to create your own unique design, the company can even make a set of new lead dies and hand-forge a silver service specially for you.