At The Christening Store, we’ve recently expanded our offering of silver baby keepsakes and that got us wondering… where did this tradition of giving silver to babies come from anyway? Can an infant truly appreciate such a fine gift and isn’t a silver teether a bit tough to chew on?

So, our crack research team has been on the trail of identifying these mysterious origins. As it turns out, silver gifts for babies are a tradition that dates back to before colonial times.

Silversmiths, such as the famous patriot Paul Revere, created silver baby rattles, cups and spoons as part of their craft. Which leads us to the question… did Paul Revere shake a silver baby rattle to attract attention during his famous midnight ride? Hmmm… a tale lost to history!

Giving a silver gift now is generally considered to be a keepsake for parents and not a functional gift for baby. That wasn’t always so. Babies have played with rattles for a long time. The first known rattles were made from clay, which was easily broken. When silver came into vogue rattles were soon fashioned out of the versatile metal, which didn’t break so babies could safely chew on them.

Silver spoons were a traditional gift given by godparents at baby’s christening among the upper classes in Europe. But the saying “born with a silver spoon in his mouth,” says as much about health as about wealth. Silver has been used as a bactericide since the 1800s and its purification uses were widely known throughout history. It was commonly known that babies who used silver pacifiers and were fed with silver spoons were in better health than their less fortunate counterparts. So, don’t feel guilty… it’s healthy!

As silversmith technology advanced, silver-plated baby rattles, cups and spoons became a less expensive alternative to the Sterling silver products used by more wealthy families. Families with more modest incomes could finally enjoy the benefit silver for their children.

Nowadays, with the advent of antibacterial soaps, modern medicines and washable plastic toys, silver is more of a luxury, but certainly a cherished keepsake. Our heirloom-quality silver baby gifts at will last generations, and certainly won’t be forgotten at the bottom of a toy box.