What Is a Finial?

What is a Finial?

The dictionary definition of a finial is an ornament at the end, top or corner of an object. With such a definition, buildings, curtain rails, flag poles, and other objects, can be said to have finials.

However, in the antique silverware world, when someone says finial we might associate that word with teapots, kettles, coffee pots, sugar bowls with cover, cup and covers, tureens, the list goes on… Simply put, the finial is a typical ornamental feature to many items of silverware.

Not only is the finial an impressive decorative detail it can also be a crucial addition. This is because often a finial is there to assist in the opening of a lid or the removal of a cover. Without a finial the user of, for example a teapot, will find it very difficult to take the lid off sans burn.

Decorative Finials may be crafted in ivory, wood or silver. Often the finial material will match the material used for the handle; creating a complimentary design.

The design of a finial can vary dramatically from one piece to the next. Designs include: eagle, floral, pineapple, acorn, oval fluted, paneled, ball shaped. Below are a few examples of the varying designs you can encounter.

Finial in the form of flower
Finial in the form of flower
Finial in the form of a pineapple
Finial in the form of a pineapple
Finial featuring a floral design
Finial featuring a floral design
Finial in the form of an eagle
Finial in the form of an eagle
Finial in the form of a putto
Finial in the form of a putto
Finial in the form of a male character
Finial in the form of a male character

So, there we have it, the finial, a functional and (at times) a highly decorative addition to the top of many items of silverware.

Which design is your favourite? Or do you happen to have an interesting style of finial you would like to share? Comment below!

The author’s views are entirely their own and may not always reflect the views of AC Silver.

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