One of nature’s very useful materials, horn (whether from ox, buffalo, stag, ram or bison) has historically been utilized in a number of applications. As seen here, it’s a material particularly suited to spoons. A true connoisseur of caviar and soft-boiled egg eating will tell you, nothing taints the flavor like metal, and horn offers an unrivalled purity of taste.
It is a renewable resource, relatively easy to carve, and a good polishing results in a glassy luster. In addition to carving, the gelatin present in animal horns softens up when heated, allowing for it to be flattened and separated into sheets that can be formed into whatever shape necessary.
Technically speaking, it’s the sulfur in egg white and in caviar that tarnish the metal and change the taste. Mother of pearl has actually the same quality as horn, and is therefore also used for fine spoons. Horn (and mother of pearl) spoons are also used by homeopathic pharmacists to measure and administer medicine because metal can sometimes effect the potency of the substances.
Over time, horn slowly loses its natural oils and therefore requires a bit of maintenance, an occasional rub with oil. The range of patterns and colors from horns is remarkable. A set of six spoons from one horn will result in six very different spoons.
Kashmir artisans worked wool in three distinct ways. The simplest required scrubbing
From its origins as a poor man’s cloth, to its adoption by Vivienne Westwood