Antique French sterling silver gilt vermeil over the cup tea strainer by Emile Puiforcat, France's renown silversmith. Elegant Empire decoration adorns the bowl and handle, patterned with Louis XVI style ribbon and reed, foliage detail and Grecian laurel leaf swags. Finished with a finely pierced bowl. Monogrammed with interlaced initials CM or MC engraved in elegant script. Hallmarked with the French Minerve 1st standard mark, which guaranteed the finest quality French sterling silver of .950/1000 purity in use from 1838 (95% pure silver and higher grade than the standard .925 for sterling). Maker's mark for Puiforcat. Weighs 33.2 grams. Measures 5 1/2" length.
Founded in 1820 by brothers Emile and Joseph-Marie Puiforcat, the firm soon established itself as a purveyor of fine quality silver tableware in various royal households. Well established and celebrated by the 1920's, the firm was at the forefront in design. The era was ushered in by grandson Jean-Emile Puiforcat, who is noted as the most important silver craftsmen of the Art Deco period. Paris, between the two World Wars, was the center of the art world and the timing of his entry into the world of decorative arts was fortuitous, given his exceptional designs. The close attention to detail and design in Puiforcat silverware allows it to stand alone as a benchmark of quality and beauty. The Puiforcat firm is still in existence today, having been acquired by Hermes in 1993. Today, Puiforcat's period and Deco pieces are highly prized for their hand craftsmanship and exquisite styling.