Antique napkin rings are gorgeous, each one is a purely decorative piece of tabletop jewellery. Napkin rings, also called serviette rings, were originally used for practicality, not just beauty. Since most households washed all linens only once a week (on Monday wash day), a napkin ring would indicate “personal” napkins at the table. Necessary to identify which napkin had been used by which family member so that they could continue using the exact same one until it was washed. (The use of the identifying rings was also a way to keep colds and flu at bay.). Originally thought to be an invention of the European bourgeoisie, the serviette “rings” first appeared in France in the 1800s. Since the upper middle classes gained more wealth, the use of napkin rings spread rapidly throughout Europe and the World. Almost every silversmith in Europe and here in the US made sterling silver and plated napkin rings. Figural napkin rings, especially, were a great favourite with American customers, special rings made for children with little chicks, dogs, and cats were a favourite gift for christenings and Christmas. But beautifully designed rings with floral motifs, monograms and other design elements were just as popular.