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What happened when Tiffany & Co designed handguns?

Updated 6:33 AM ET, Wed September 19, 2018
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These beautiful guns were fully functional, but were never intended to be fired. Courtesy Metropolitan Museum of Art
Instead, they were created as symbols of American power, using artisan techniques that had never been seen before. Courtesy Metropolitan Museum of Art
They were produced by Tiffany & Co in the late 19th Century to be shown at exhibitions around the world. Courtesy Metropolitan Museum of Art
The brains behind the project was Edward C Moore (1827 - 1891), the eldest son of a renowned family of silversmiths, who was artistic director of Tiffany & Co. Courtesy Metropolitan Museum of Art
Moore derived inspiration from the arts of the Near East and Far East, and many of the guns were inspired by Japanese and Islamic art. Courtesy Metropolitan Museum of Art
Engraving guns was common, but these were decorated using a chemical etching technique, which was extremely rare. Courtesy Metropolitan Museum of Art
About 50 were produced in total. Most have found their way into private collections, but the biggest single collection can be seen at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Courtesy Metropolitan Museum of Art