Stone Fruit Collections
Stone fruit, also known as marble fruit, is carved and painted fruit, nuts and vegetables made from Italian marble that look extremely realistic. These painted marble wonders have been known to fool a child (and adult) who would pick up a piece and tried to bite into it! Most were made to the actual size of the fruit but you can also find miniature and over-sized pieces.
Starting around 1900, these wonderful pieces came to American shores from Italy. Imported stone fruit reached their peak in the 1950s when stone fruit became popular to decorate with. However, stone fruit is still being made today in Italy (and in China and Mexico) so you do have to be aware of what you are purchasing.
Collection of Stone Fruit
Antique stone fruit was hand carved and painted, then baked to harden the finish. Depending on the piece, you may be able to see chisel marks. The older fruit will have a nice dark patina with dry paint. Typically the colors have softened with time and sometimes even the black veins of the marble are visible through the paint. As you would expect, stone fruit is cold to the touch and heavy. The fruit stems were made from short grapevines pieces. Grapes would be wired on real grape vines while cherries were typically wired together. Fruit made today is typically shiny and not as finely detailed.
Stone fruit come in many varieties including peaches, oranges, pears, apples, pomegranates, persimmons, lemons, limes, figs, bananas—just about every fruit you can think of. The rarer pieces are those that are made as half of a piece of fruit such as apples, peaches, oranges and pears. Slices of watermelon are also rare. Stone nuts including almonds, walnuts, peanuts, hazelnuts and Brazil nuts were also carved. Some of the nuts look so realistic you think you should be able to crack them - but don't try!
Although these marble wonders are collectively referred to as stone fruit, you can also find vegetables such as tomato, garlic, pepper, carrot, potato, shallot, eggplants and more. The vegetables are even rarer than fruit and even nuts. Vegetables are typically from the mid-twentieth century (ie right after World War II into the late 1960s.)
Collection of rare Stone Vegetables
Stone fruit pieces are popular to collect. You can find them at antique shows, shops and online. Some collectors will purchase each piece individually to put together a specific set of fruit. But, you can also purchase an assembled collection that might even come with an old compote, wooden bowl, treen plate, pewter charger or redware plate.
Search for stone fruit or marble fruit on Dig Antiques.
Service with a Smile!
Written by Guest Columnist: Lyn Andeen
I just had the experience of stopping at a large antique mall with a huge sign on the highway that read open 10 AM – 6PM. Oh boy, I thought, a whole hour and 15 minutes to shop. I got to the door and new times were posted with a closing time of 5 PM. Much to my dismay, the woman inside had locked the door and locked me out of 15 minutes of frenzied shopping. The kicker was I could see lots of good country goodies inside.
On the same buying trip I waited at another shop that had a hand written sign: ‘back in 15 minutes’. I waited the 15 minutes. When the shop owner arrived back, not one word was spoken to me. No “sorry, I hope you haven’t been waiting long”, no “may I help you?” Not a word.
At the last antique show I did, when closing time came and we had a good 2 hours of packing to do plus a long 6-7 hour ride home, I still had customers shopping my booth. I did apologize for packing but told the ladies if they saw anything or had any questions please ask. Well I made 3 more sales.
Now here’s a lesson from my ancient history. When I waitressed back in my college days, my girlfriend and I would sit at the end of our shift with all the other college kids working there and count our tips. The two of us would make double what the others made. They would ask how come you always get the big tips. Our response was always the same: "service with a smile”.
Always, and especially in this time of an economic downturn, we need to remember our manners, be flexible, and always give service with a smile.
About Lyn Andeen
Lyn Andeen has been an avid collector and dealer for the past 28 years. She has been in group shops, setup at countless antique shows and has a true artistic eye. Lyn's passion is for quality 18th through early 20th century Americana, decorative arts, Shaker and folk art. You can find Lyn online through Andeen Antiques.
Spring is Here
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