This IXL pocketknife was made in Sheffield, the knife capitol of the world at the time, and for hundreds of years prior. In the mid-1700s, there was a cutler by the name of George Wolstenholme b. 1717 working in the village of Stannington, near Sheffield. The mark books of The Company of Cutlers show IXL being registered to Wostenholm in 1831.
Wostenholm made its share of Exhibition pieces and won Gold Medals & acclaim at numerous International Exhibitions including The Great Exhibition in London 1851, Paris 1855, London 1862, Paris 1867, Philadelphia 1876, Sydney 1879, Melbourne 1880, and New Orleans 1884. Wostenholm knives are considered much rarer than the more prolific maker Joseph Rodgers. Please refer to the articles by the late, great friends and Icons Bill Williamson; "IXL Means - I Excel", and the excellent article in the Sheffield Exhibition Knife Book on page 187 by Jim Taylor.
Wostenholms sales trips to America began soon after, and subsequently he established offices from New York to San Francisco through which he could service growing demand for his hand made, Craftsmen made IXL knives. Wolstenholm personally made dozens of visits to America starting in the 1830's, at a time when trans-Atlantic passage would have been arduous, to say the least. By 1860, Sheffield made knives had a monopoly on the American cutlery trade, with about 90% of the market share. By 1862, IXL was almost exclusively exporting to the American market. This is a fine, rare, high quality Antique bottle shaped figural pocketknife in the shape of a champagne bottle, with 2 blades and a corkscrew.
The top of the bottle has the signature foil wrapping of a Champagne bottle. Some 3 bladed champagne knives have a small hook blade to unwrap the foil from the bottle; and some have 2 standard knife blades with a corkscrew.Gold quartz jewelry during and after the Gold Rush period was very popular with the Wealthy and Affluent American Business Titans of the period; and is found on extremely expensive watch fobs, watch cases, match safes, pendants, broches, et al, that were expensive then, and even more so today after a century and a half. Gentlemen of Means wanted high end goods, and a Unique Gold Quartz pocketknife would have been an eye-appealing design that would have been avidly admired when a Sporting Gent, Gambler or Wealthy Gentleman of means who would purposely offer to help with a task when an opportunity afforded him to display his unique accoutrement in a flair of Victorian period Gentleman's gesture. Little is known about this pattern of IXL Gold Quartz panel pocketknife. About 90% of all 19th Century Sheffield knives were imported into the burgeoning post-Civil War period American market, which is especially true of Wostenholm, who by 1860, exported to America almost exclusively.
This IXL knife dates from around the mid 1800s to the 1880's (no England in the hot stamp), so it is a forgone conclusion that the Jewelry quality Gold Quartz is American, and undoubtedly from the California gold rush period. Two other high end Antique Sheffield pocketknife Dealers / Collectors & Knife Authorities agree that this knife was a custom made to order skeleton knife pattern made by IXL that was commissioned by a High-End San Francisco jeweler who supplied the gold quartz to produce an extremely small, limited number of Unique Gold Quartz paneled pocketknives for their high-end customers.
Note that Wostemholm had an established office in San Francisco during this period. New information has come to light regarding gold quartz pocketknives. It appears that gold quartz jewelry was first designed by an early San Francisco Jeweler, Barret & Sherwood, who exhibited examples at the 1853 New York Crystal Palace Exhibition. Other gold quartz jewelry is found with the mark W. Schumacher, specialized in gold quartz jewelry; and are listed in the 1899 San Francisco directory.
Awesome gold quartz jewelry examples are shown in the Wetherells 1999 book, Best of California. Pocket knives made without handles/scales are called a skeleton knife, i. The entire knife is made by the Maker Hot stamped on the blade(s), but without scales that retailers would affix. The best examples can have investment castings of gold, jewels, gold frame borders, semi-precious stones such as agates, or gold bearing pieces of quartz. A large gold quartz panel would be exceptionally expensive, and few have ever seen a gold quartz pocketknife.
IXL is known to have made skeleton knives up to around 1910, but only a few Gold Quartz pocketknife examples are known with the IXL hot stamp. Gold quartz jewelry was created by the most skilled craftsmen of the time, as gold quartz is very brittle and can easily be broken. This is especially true of slabs of thin gold quartz.One extraordinary IXL Gold Quartz pocketknife has a pattern that is shown in the IXL1885 catalog. This exquisite example is hot stamped GEORGE / WOSTENHOLM / IXL CUTLERY / SHEFFIEILD, made prior to 1891 (no England stamp) when U. Imports required the country of origin to be stamped on the item. Note that the select Gold Quartz piece is 2 3/16" long x 11/16" is white quartz, which is rarer and more desirable for jewelry vs. Gold quartz is formed when both natural gold and quartz combine in a molten state and are untouched by erosion. Sometimes, when they solidify, the quartz is white with a rare gold dispersion; when this happens, an exquisite piece of jewelry can be created. The white quartz rock is cut into slabs to expose the veins of gold. Each slab is then hand-cut and polished into specific designs to enhance the natural flow of the gold, ensuring that every gold quartz gemstone is one of a kind. There are dozens of different minerals that can be mixed with gold quartz. One is Petxite, which is a telluride of silver, in which the silver is partly replaced by gold, and occurs in California, Colorado, and Utah. Once specimen from the Golden Rule Mine contained 41.86% silver and 25.6 % gold.
There is one small spot and a few minuscule specs that appear to be silver mixed with the gold, at the top center of the bottle shape, and appear silver colored when viewed straight on. However, when the quartz piece is viewed while holding it and tilting it slightly to the left and moving it in the light, all of these gold and silver mix spots turn to gold color and match the gold color of the other gold in the quartz (see image #3). There is one tiny piece of unknown mineral in the center just below the silver gold mix spot that is a naturally occurring indentation and hardly noticeable but is readily visible with a loupe.
There are no chips or cracks to the quartz. The thin occlusion at the top edge of the quartz is not a crack, but a naturally occurring mineral.It is very rare to see two different materials used for knife scales on the same knife; and some were made as salesman sample knives. The Select Mother of Pearl has no chips, cracks, or damage, and has the multi-color iridescence, especially in the sunlight, found in pearl before the oceans became polluted.
All 3 blades are hand forged, hand ground, hand fitted and hand polished. All 3 implements have a strong snap when opening and closing. The ricasso of both blades are Hot Stamped, IXL, GEORGE, WOSTENHOLM, CELEBRATED, and CUTLERY in 5 lines (with NO England, used prior to 1891).
The moniker "CELEBRATED" is an early marking; much like similar "Splendid", "Superior" , blade markings, "Celebrated" is found on Sheffield knives beginning in the 1830's, and is rarely found beyond the 1840's. One notable exception is IXL, who use this moniker on both on the blade flat and on the ricasso; and used by them mostly on Exhibition quality knives, and on special made to order on later 1800's knives. Closed, this pocketknife is 3 1/4" tall x 7/8" wide x 9/16 thick. Open, about 6 1/8 long.This piece is heavy for its size and weighs 2.3 ounces or 66 grams. The 2 11/16 Master clip blade has a full tip and is unsharpened. When the Master blade is half open, one can see a tiny spot of untouched, naturally occurring black "spidering" on the rear ricasso, and another tiny spot just above it that can be seen with a 10x loupe; proof of the genuine aging that takes 100+ years to form. There are 3 minuscule spots on this back side of the Master blade that are hard to see, but with a 10x loupe, appears to be tiny black spots of spidering that were wiped, removing the black color, and leaving the hard to see natural color of the metal that remains. The 1 7/8 long pen blade also has a full tip and is unsharpened. When the pen blade is half open, one can see a tiny spot of untouched, naturally occurring black spidering on the rear ricasso and also between the E and L on the front ricasso; proof of the genuine aging that takes 100+ years to form. The pen blade front side has several minuscule spots that appear to be antique spidering that had originally had black coloration. It appears the blades have been gently and professionally very lightly cleaned, leaving the hard to see tiny dots with natural color of the metal that remains, but visible with a loupe.
These minuscule blade spots in no way diminish the overall appearance of this rare Gold Quartz knife and are certainly not distracting overall. There is also a fine, hand forged folding 1 3/16 corkscrew with an easy opening groove in the Mother of Pearl and liner to allow easy opening. No self-respecting Gentleman of the period would be caught dead without a corkscrew on him. This figural knife has a stylized cast German silver bolster at the tip that resembles the neck of a champagne bottle, with hand line engraving to simulate the outline of a cork with its retaining wire.
The German Silver bolster, along with the brass liners, secures the German Silver Master pin of the clip and pen blades. The corkscrew pin is brass, secured by both brass liners and one of the 1/2 long back springs.
This corkscrew pin is hidden on the quartz side but is one of 3 matching color brass pins securing the pearl scale springs and liners. Note the very unusual configuration of this knife. There are two internal long back springs that run the length inside the knife.
One end of these 2 back springs are curved upward like a typical spring inside the brass liners; the other side of the springs are ground flat. The blade end of the springs appears normal, and work as any blade spring.
However, the backs of both springs are cut out for 1/2 of their length, allowing the corkscrew to be fitted in this slot. Thus, the 1/2 length Master blade spring had to be tempered to work with the large Master blade, and the corkscrew and pen blade use the same spring, tempered at one end for the pen blade, and the middle tempered for the corkscrew. Note the brass liner for the pearl is of normal size, and the center liner is only 1/2 long. The Gold Quartz liner is extra thick at 1/8 thick, and tapers to normal thickness at the base of the bolster to the tip.Note there are lots of small, naturally occurring age spots to the back springs between the liners; both inside the blade side and also the corkscrew side that attest to genuine age. Gold Quartz is rare and desirous when used as knife scales; and is unheard of in this unusual and unique pattern. Overall, in fine condition given its extreme age. This handsome, eye appealing, Gold Quartz and Mother of Pearl paneled figural champagne bottle shaped rare pattern by the Premier Maker IXL pocketknife is for a discerning collector who wants an opportunity to own a 19th Century Sheffield unique pocketknife with a piece of American Gold Rush heritage and legacy is a worthy investment for any knife connoisseur that will only increase in value.
10/21 Knife magazine article by Doug Growitz. Exceptions include holidays, power outages, and evacuations. Claims such as doesn't match description or photos, doesn't seem authentic, Doesn't fit, Wrong item sent, Missing parts or pieces, Doesn't work or defective, Arrived damaged. Due to a myriad of International and U. Listing and template services provided by inkFrog.
The item "FINE RARE ANTIQUE IXL GOLD QUARTZ & PEARL PANELS FIGURAL CHAMPAGNE POCKET KNIFE" is in sale since Friday, October 1, 2021. This item is in the category "Collectibles\Knives, Swords & Blades\Collectible Folding Knives\Vintage Folding Knives\Custom & Handmade".
The seller is "1knifeguy1" and is located in Fairfield, California. This item can be shipped worldwide.