Napkin rings are cylindrical items designed to hold a table napkin or serviette neatly on a dining table.
It is generally believed napkin rings were originally handmade from strips of material and used to identify and distinguish the napkin of each daily user.
Silver napkin rings were first introduced in France in the early 1800’s, and with the increased wealth of the middle class, the use of such pieces rapidly spread throughout Europe and the Western world. Historical references first identify napkin rings in America as late as 1865.
Besides silver and silver plate, ivory was also a material of choice during the 19th century. This quickly diversified over time, and napkin rings were crafted in materials such as pewter, wood, glass, porcelain and bone.
Napkin rings were often embellished with crests and monograms to indicate the personal ownership of such an item. The tradition of giving napkin rings as presents at christenings and weddings began in the 19th century and continues to present day, possibly because of the personal nature of such a gift.