Nothing imparts a ceremonious sense of opening the meal like removing a napkin ring, and few table accessories brighten a setting as nicely. But the napkin ring actually has a practical origin: In the pre-Laundromat dark ages, it helped each family member identify her weekly table linen. Vintage napkin rings are easy to find, singly or in sets, at thrift stores and flea markets. (Look for silver plate, sterling, and Deco Bakelite examples.) Don't be afraid to mix patterns -- you'll be bringing the napkin ring back to its roots, making each diner's place special.