The following description was prepared by William Gross:
This so-called "Zfat Cup" is a well known and popular item of Judaica. Most of these cups were brought without decoration from Europe, as indicated by the silver hallmarks, and were engraved in Eretz Israel with vignettes of Holy sites. The common knowledge is that such cups were fashioned the city of Safed and hence their common name. The earliest dated cup is from 1881, so it is probable that they were made in the last quarter of the 19th century and the first quarter of the 20th. A number of existing examples have personal dedications, but it seems that they were purchased as souvenirs of the Holy Land as well.
Most of them, of the later types, carry an almost identical design, but the earlier examples, among which this is numbered still from the 19th century, showed more original variation. This cup is of a shape quite different than all other known examples, being much wider at the upper rim than at the base, creating an effect of a small bowl. It carries an inscription along the upper rim but is inscribed as well in two lines at the pedestal like bottom. It is further differentiated by the use of the palm tree, the willow tree and grape vines as decoration between the oval vignettes instead of scrolling vegetation as in the more normal examples.
In one of the vignettes is an inscription indicating structure as that of Rashbi in Tiberius while the other two depict the Holy sites of the Kotel and the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron.
Because of the unusual form and the absence of any silver marks, it is possible that this cup was totally created in Eretz Israel.
J | Jerusalem | Sites in Jerusalem: | Western Wall (Kotel) הכותל המערבי
H | Holy and other places in the Land of Israel | Holy Tombs | Simeon bar Yohai (Rashbi), Tomb of (קבר רשבי)
T | Tree
G | Grapes