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Nautilus shell caviar spoon from Heyst s/mer, c. 1900

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Small mother of pearl caviar spoon made from a nautilus shell and is a tiny souvenir portable by train. This is how most arrived at the 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.

The condition is good, no chips or cracks to the shell and no damage to the steel shaft other than some surface rust. Measures 4 1/4 x 7/8 inches and weighs 0.299 oz. Belgium, c. 1900. 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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