A Quaich is a simple shallow bowl with two handles designed to drink from. The Quaich originated in Scotland and from the Gaelic “Cauch”. Therefore basically the answer to the question what is a Quaich, it is a two handled drinking cup.
Originally Quaich’s where hand carved from wood. They are though to have been inspired from similar flat shaped bowls in England and the Netherlands. The true origins of the Quaich can be traced back to the highlands themselves.
What Is a Quaich Used For
We did say they were used as drinking vessels but it goes much deeper than a simple drink. The true purpose of a Quaich is a shared drinking vessel hence the two handles. It is reported that Theresa May gave a Quaich to President Trump on his visit to the UK.
Today the Scottish Quaich is engrained in many celebrations and ceremonies. If you have ever been lucky enough to visit Scotland and its people you will understand they cling to their traditional. As a matter of a fact they have fought for their traditions and the Quaich has a special place in their hearts.
The Love Cup A Quaich A Marriage
Steeped in traditions and ceremonies the Quaich is a perfect gift for a wedding. A great heirloom for the wedded couple to keep and cherish for years.
Often two drinks would be poured into the Quaich, a drink of the grooms choice. Then of course a drink of choice of the bride’s choosing. Symbolising the coming together of two entities. The mixing of the desired drinks becoming one, togetherness. The simple wedding ceremony in the Scottish Highlands ran a little deeper than just husband and wife.
A Typical Marriage Toast
Very often whilst the bride and groom drink from the Quaich and esteemed guest will read out loud. Either a poem or words of wisdom.
Strike hands with me, the glasses brim,
The dew is on the heather.
For love is good and life is long,
And two are best together.
Bless the union of these two,
Eager for marriage, eager for love.
May they begin life together,
Live that life together
And come to the end together.
The Highland Ceremonies
The marriage of man and wife was usually derived from the need of Scottish clans to unite. The heads of Highland clans would often seek out suitable brides for their sons. Usually not for the desire to find their heir a beautiful wife. Oh no it was more to benefit themselves and the clan itself.
It would either to strengthen the clan itself or simply to protect themselves from larger neighbouring clans. Marriage back I that day were rarely about love. When two clans joined forces it was always marked with a ceremony.
The Highlands Clans Ceremonies
Using their wooden Quaich the heads of the clans would fill them with their desired drink. The clan leaders would first drink from the drinking vessel and then to every member within each clan.
Of course as the liquid would quickly run out as it was a shallow drinking vessel. The clansman would then fill it again with whatever they had in their flasks. This would then further create bonds with the 2 clans joining each other. However it wasn’t always a jolly as that. It is reported that they started making glass bottomed Quaich’s so they could still see their enemy whilst drinking.
The Christening Quaich
What is a Quaich when it’s at a Christening. When used to celebrate the christening of a new born baby the Quaich ceremony is the perfect coming together. Even today the marriage is still symbolic of two clans joining each other. The two families looking out for each others best interests. Of course this is done simply for the love of their children.
In the marriage ceremony 2 drinks were poured into the Quaich. In the christening ceremony often the parents pour in their drinks of choice. Then the godparents pour in their wee dram. Everyone who is responsible for ensuring that the baby has a safe passage in the world drinks from the cup. Symbolising that they all have shared responsibility and love for the child.
Wooden To Silver Quaich
Originally they were carved from wood as did all drinking vessels around the world. Silver had already been discovered thousands of years previously and naturally people wanted to enhance everything with silver.
The first Quaichs’s embellished with silver would have been made by two different people. The carpenter would have hand carved the wood to make a finished product. Even back then before the common use of the word entrepreneur people would just do that.
Take what would be a common everyday object, enhancing it and raising its value. The silver smiths of the time did that very same process. They would take a standard wooden Quaich and then add a silver band around the top. At first it was just a simple silver band.
The Silversmiths Art
It wasn’t long before these simple bands of silver became more extravagant on the Quaich. The band became hand hammered with intricately designed patterns. Next the handles would have silver embellished upon them.
The next stage into the development of the Silver Quaich was the base. Now with a silver rim, silver handles and a silver base the next step was to make a Quaich completely from silver.
The Edinburgh Silver Quaich Quest
At Edinburgh Silver we like to provide our customers with quality items. We like to provide people with something individual and unique so we decided on a quest. Originally it wasn’t designed as a quest but it soon turned into one.
We wanted to create our very own designed Silver Hammered Quaich. As we have commissioned many silver items for our online store before it should not be too difficult. Or so we thought as we started the journey that nearly took 3 years from conception.
The Search For The Hammerman
All we needed was a skilled hammerman to help us shape our newly designed Silver Quaich. A man with the skills of the old arts and crafts, with the ability to hand hammer silver.
After a year of just looking for the right man we were about to give up and then we were given a name. However not all plain sailing as he was a retired hammerman. It was still worth talking to George Trainer of Sheffield.
The Next Generation
As luck and traditions go this was a family that passed down their skills through the generations. The art of hammering was still alive. It wasn’t George’s son who was now doing the work. No it was his grandson, perfect traditional skills in a modern world.
We decided that we would have to brave it and cross the border into England. Peter lived and worked in Sheffield so it was a long journey just to speak with him face to face. As we said truly a quest filled with desire to source and produce the best we could.
The Meeting Of Designers and Hammerman
We met Peter at his studio and he enthusiastically showed us some of his work. He even demonstrated his hammering skills first hand. We knew there and then that the search was now over .
Was it the end of the quest? Well, we were able to agree there and then a long term deal to be able to produce the new Quaich. We got back in the car pleased that we were finally going to produce our exclusive silver Quaich. The Scottish border was in site, everything is going to be ok.
So everything is now in place, the design the hammerman and we had already decided that it was going to be plated with 25 microns of silver.
It wasn’t quite that simple. It took over 18 months development to find an acceptable way to include hand hammering in our manufacturing process. Obviously after the lengthy search to get the right man we wanted everything perfect. Exactly as our customers who demand perfection.
The Finished Product
We think our beautiful hammered gifts would not be out of place in a posh London shop in the year 1903, and that is exactly what we hoped to accomplish. Not bad for a wee business in Scotland.
The result will be a full range of our silver and silver-plated gifts all hand crafted, and hand hammered in the traditional manner, the first of which is now available. This hand hammered silver-plated Quaich.
The Details of The Quaich Quest
Silver Plated Hand Crafted and hand hammered Quaich. Measuring 4 inches in diameter, with plain rim band . The best quality silver plated Quaich available, a very heavy, silver plated luxury gift. with space for engraving under the base.
With plain hammered handles, plain top rim and foot, making a great gift. Supplied in a gift box. Reference number: CH4PH. The finest silver plated Quaich it looks exactly as solid silver with over 25 microns of solid silver.
A simple shallow drinking vessel with two handles. Designed to be able to share the drink with a loved one or at a ceremony with others.
They were first used in the Highlands of Scotland by the Clansmen.