Precious metal toothpicks have long history

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The toothpick is a ubiquitous tool that has evolved with humans for as long as we have been playing with fire.  Deep grooves in the fossilized teeth of our early ancestors tell us that even back then, we were using implements to help keep our teeth clean.  As we evolve however, so do our tools.


From primitive wooden tools, evolved bronze versions, and by 17th century, Chinese and European nobility were using precious metal toothpicks, which were sometimes adorned with gemstones. While these personal and precious objects were en vogue among the upper class,  wood and quill versions of the tool were more commonly used.


It wasn’t until the wooden toothpick was mass produced in America in the 1870s, that their use began to permeate the cultural fabric of western society.  In his article for Slate Magazine, toothpick expert, Henry Petroski states that in America, “the [wooden] toothpick took on a life of its own, serving not only as a utilitarian object but also as a status symbol and even as an accessory.”  

 

Toothpick chewing became so prevalent across America, that a Dear Abby columnist condemned the habit as vulgar.   Such public dismissal of the habit further provoked the rebellious, and from then on, the wooden toothpick has been synonymous with the tough guy.


Here at ATTIC, however we appreciate that being tough and being refined can coexist.  If you’ve ever been in a jewellery studio, you know that it often takes grit to make something beautiful. Our solid 14k gold toothpick is on is on it's way, so stay with us if you want to find out more.

 

Gold toothpick - Michel Le Blon, C. 1600, Netherlands

 
Ivory & gold toothpick once owned by Charles Dickens

Michael Perchin, Lapis toothpick holder


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