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2606 Granby Street
Norfolk, VA 23517

Pierced nautilus shell hanging serving spoon, c. 1900



nautilus shell  serving spoon, made from the nautilus shell for serving caviar or oysters. The non-reactive nature of mother of pearl does not taint the delicate flavor of caviar as any metal would. This piece is one of four from the same collection from Belgian resort town Heyst s/mer, today Heist-aan-Zee, Belgium. Heyst sur mer (French abbreviations...) was the former name of the popular seaside resort. Everyone could arrive by train and go home with little souvenirs of wonderful seafood dinners and time on the sand with fresh air.

The name of the town officially changed in 1938, but likely, the majority Flemish-speaking population probably never really pronounced it in French anyhow. Belgium has three official languages: German (a little in the East), French, and Flemish (Dutch). It was around the end of the 19th Century that language entered politics. French had long been a dominant language of the government, monarchy, and education. But in the age of language-based nationalism, there was a resurgence of Flemish culture and language. In 1898, Flemish gained legal parity with French, and in the decades to follow, former French names like Heyst s/Mer were changed officially to Heist-aan-Zee, though the locals would likely not really refer to it by the tourist's name anyhow.

It measures 2 7/8 x 1 7/8 x 2 inches and weighs 0.509 oz. Pictured on top of an altar stone from nearby Ghent, Belgium - specifically from the pilgrimage church, Sint-Jacobskerk, dedicated to St. James.


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