I was unaware of the existence of grape scissors/shears until I heard them mentioned in passing on a podcast of No Such Thing As A Fish. Found the image and the text below at AC Silver in the UK:
Grape shears and grape scissors are an instrument specifically designed for cutting grape stalks, and are smaller and designed especially for the purpose. Grape shears were invented in the 19th century, and the earliest examples were from the Regency period, although very few have survived and these early examples are extraordinarily rare now.More at the link (along with other interesting silver info). My knee-jerk reaction was to mock the scissors (especially with silver plate and the velvet-lined custom container), but as I think about serving grapes, it is difficult to separate a cluster from a large bunch without placing the other hand on the bunch, so if grapes are shared with a larger group, the last person gets some much-handled fruit. At a picnic or with family, such considerations are insignificant, but I'm wondering if I were to serve grapes at a party whether passing around a pair of ordinary kitchen scissors would be appropriate, or would that be considered posh?
These shears or scissors are about 6 to 7 inches (15 to 18 cm) long. The handles are much longer than the blades, so that you can insert the blades deeply into a cluster of grapes. Most of the scissor ends have blunt tips, so that they won’t puncture the fruit.
The grape shears would sometimes be found as part of a set with a grapestand, and the earlier grape shears from the late Georgian period were more like scissors, with equally long blades and handles. These were often gold-gilt, demonstrating the high value that the grape shears had been imbued with as an item of cutlery, and as part of a dinner service. Later though, grape shears were usually made of sterling silver, as with most high quality dinnerware, so as to avoid tarnishing and to stand the test of time.
After the 1850s, most of the shears produced included a flange which had been added to one of the blades, so that once the grapes had been cut, they could then be elegantly placed on to the diner’s plate while still holding the shears...