Silverware Flatware

Different Types of Silverware Explained


Historically, silverware referred only to those household items that were manufactured from silver. This could include anything from candlesticks, tea services, flatware, and cutlery. Today, silverware is a generic term that is used to describe all types of flatware and cutlery, regardless of its composition.

Silverware, as the name implies, was historically made from (obviously) silver. However, being a very soft and malleable metal, it was necessary to blend the silver with another metal to enhance its strength. This gave rise to the alloy called Sterling Silver, which has long been recognized as the 'silver' standard. Sterling Silver contains (by law) 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% of other metals - typically copper. More recently, other metals (such as zinc and platinum) have been used to enhance specific properties, such as resistance to tarnish, but none have been able to replace copper as the standard. So, if you're fortunate enough to have inherited, purchased (or possibly even collect) sterling silver, it contains at least 92.5% pure silver (and as the price of silver goes up, so does the value of your flatware).

Silverplate cutlery is made from a base metal (usually copper, nickel, or zinc) which is coated with a layer of silver. Originally, silver and copper were melted and fused together into a composite, the two layers behaving as one. Around 1770 the 'double sandwich' or Sheffield process was developed, where a copper core is 'sandwiched' between two layers of silver, then heated and formed. This continued until about 1840 when it was replaced by the highly efficient electroplating process. Electroplating deposits a very thin layer (typically 35 microns) of silver onto another conductive metal, as an electrical current passes through them. One benefit of electroplating is that the surface is made of pure silver, not sterling silver. Unfortunately, the silver layer itself is quite thin, so the majority of the part consists of the cheaper core metal.

All other types of flatware and cutlery, typically referred to as 'silverware' contain no silver at all. Today's most common varieties are made of stainless steel, typically the 18/8 or 18/10 alloys. The numbers refer to the composition of the steel alloy. The base metal is iron, and it is blended with 18% chromium and 8% (or 10%) nickel. Higher quality stainless steel flatware will be heavier than 'cheaper' versions.
Other materials from which cutlery has been made include gold (solid and plated), brass, and pewter, all of which obviously contain no silver.

As you can see, just because the flatware or cutlery you purchased is called silverware, that doesn't guarantee it will be made of silver. Depending on the type of silverware you purchase, it may contain sterling silver, silver and copper, or possibly no silver at all.

How its Made - Flatware
1 Oneida craft Deluxe Stainless Serving Spoon Chateau silverware flatware
1 Oneida craft Deluxe Stainless Serving Spoon Chateau silverware flatware
$9.85
Time Remaining: 44m
Bid now | Add to watch list
Kimco Rare Flatware Fork Spoons Knives Stainless Silverware Vintage KI01
Kimco Rare Flatware Fork Spoons Knives Stainless Silverware Vintage KI01
$19.99
Time Remaining: 1h 7m
Buy It Now for only: $49.99
Buy It Now | Bid now | Add to watch list
New Gibson Coca Cola 16 Pc Stain Resistant Stainless Steel Silverware Ta
New Gibson Coca Cola 16 Pc Stain Resistant Stainless Steel Silverware Ta
$55.00
Time Remaining: 1h 17m
Buy It Now for only: $55.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list
NS CO STAINLESS SILVERWARE NST70 18 8 10 PIECES
NS CO STAINLESS SILVERWARE NST70 18 8 10 PIECES
$7.99
Time Remaining: 1h 40m
Buy It Now for only: $7.99
Buy It Now | Add to watch list
1847 ROGERS BROS ADORATION SERVING SPOON SILVERWARE
1847 ROGERS BROS ADORATION SERVING SPOON SILVERWARE
$9.99
Time Remaining: 1h 56m
Buy It Now for only: $9.99
Buy It Now | Add to watch list
22 Pc Rogers Nickel Silver Silverware Set for Projects
22 Pc Rogers Nickel Silver Silverware Set for Projects
$29.99
Time Remaining: 2h 32m
Buy It Now for only: $29.99
Buy It Now | Add to watch list
VINTAGE SUPERIOR STAINLESS BY INTERNATIONAL FLATWARE IN BOX SILVER WARE SET
VINTAGE SUPERIOR STAINLESS BY INTERNATIONAL FLATWARE IN BOX SILVER WARE SET
$49.95
Time Remaining: 3h 18m
Buy It Now for only: $49.95
Buy It Now | Add to watch list
2 Noritake Rosetta Iced TeaSpoons Stainless Flatware Silverware RoseVintage
2 Noritake Rosetta Iced TeaSpoons Stainless Flatware Silverware RoseVintage
$16.99
Time Remaining: 3h 47m
Buy It Now for only: $22.09
Buy It Now | Bid now | Add to watch list
LOT OF 4 1847 ROGERS BROS GARLAND 1965 SILVERWARE KNIVES 9 INCHES
LOT OF 4 1847 ROGERS BROS GARLAND 1965 SILVERWARE KNIVES 9 INCHES
$9.99
Time Remaining: 4h 15m
Buy It Now for only: $9.99
Buy It Now | Add to watch list
LOT OF 4 1847 ROGERS BROS GARLAND 1965 SILVERWARE FORKS 7 5 8 INCHES
LOT OF 4 1847 ROGERS BROS GARLAND 1965 SILVERWARE FORKS 7 5 8 INCHES
$9.99
Time Remaining: 4h 20m
Buy It Now for only: $9.99
Buy It Now | Add to watch list
LOT OF 4 1847 ROGERS BROS GARLAND 1965 SILVERWARE FORKS 7 INCHES
LOT OF 4 1847 ROGERS BROS GARLAND 1965 SILVERWARE FORKS 7 INCHES
$9.99
Time Remaining: 4h 23m
Buy It Now for only: $9.99
Buy It Now | Add to watch list
Lot Of 5 Forks And Spreading Knife 1847 ROGERS BROS SILVERWARE IS MAGIC ROSE
Lot Of 5 Forks And Spreading Knife 1847 ROGERS BROS SILVERWARE IS MAGIC ROSE
$19.00
Time Remaining: 4h 26m
Buy It Now for only: $19.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list
Lot Of 8 Spoons 1847 ROGERS BROS SILVERWARE IS MAGIC ROSE 4 Soup And 4 Tea
Lot Of 8 Spoons 1847 ROGERS BROS SILVERWARE IS MAGIC ROSE 4 Soup And 4 Tea
$24.00
Time Remaining: 4h 26m
Buy It Now for only: $24.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list
8P72 Vtg Wallace Stainless Flatware Silverware Drawer Chest 12 PcService
8P72 Vtg Wallace Stainless Flatware Silverware Drawer Chest 12 PcService
$49.00
Time Remaining: 4h 42m
Buy It Now for only: $49.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list
HOLMES  EDWARDS SILVERWARE 83 PC SET SILVERPLATE 1940 YOUTH
HOLMES EDWARDS SILVERWARE 83 PC SET SILVERPLATE 1940 YOUTH
$300.00
Time Remaining: 4h 55m
Bid now | Add to watch list
IKEA Bubblor Clear Bubble Flatware Silverware Set Stainless Steel Discontinued
IKEA Bubblor Clear Bubble Flatware Silverware Set Stainless Steel Discontinued
$19.50 (11 Bids)
Time Remaining: 5h 9m
Bid now | Add to watch list
Oneida Fantasy Teaspoon Community Stainless Flatware Silverware
Oneida Fantasy Teaspoon Community Stainless Flatware Silverware
$8.99
Time Remaining: 5h 10m
Buy It Now for only: $8.99
Buy It Now | Add to watch list
Interpur INR2 Brown Salad Fork Dessert 7 1 4 Stainless Flatware Silverware
Interpur INR2 Brown Salad Fork Dessert 7 1 4 Stainless Flatware Silverware
$3.95
Time Remaining: 5h 11m
Buy It Now for only: $3.95
Buy It Now | Add to watch list
57 Pcs Gold Tone Stainless Flatware Silverware Japan EPSS
57 Pcs Gold Tone Stainless Flatware Silverware Japan EPSS
$39.99
Time Remaining: 5h 21m
Bid now | Add to watch list
Beautiful Silverware Flatware Necklace  E  Monogram Initial
Beautiful Silverware Flatware Necklace E Monogram Initial
$15.00
Time Remaining: 5h 21m
Buy It Now for only: $15.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list
1959 AD 2 Page 1847 Rogers Silverware Flatware Springtime Daffodil Remembrance
1959 AD 2 Page 1847 Rogers Silverware Flatware Springtime Daffodil Remembrance
$19.99
Time Remaining: 5h 25m
Buy It Now for only: $19.99
Buy It Now | Add to watch list
Oneida Tudor SWEET BRIAR Silverplate Flatware 52 PC Silverware
Oneida Tudor SWEET BRIAR Silverplate Flatware 52 PC Silverware
$64.99
Time Remaining: 5h 26m
Buy It Now for only: $64.99
Buy It Now | Add to watch list
Towle Murano 24K Gold Silverware Flatware Supreme Cutlery Electroplated 67 pcs
Towle Murano 24K Gold Silverware Flatware Supreme Cutlery Electroplated 67 pcs
$145.55
Time Remaining: 5h 32m
Buy It Now for only: $145.55
Buy It Now | Add to watch list
Oneida Cabana Salad Fork Dessert Stainless Flatware Silverware Round Tip
Oneida Cabana Salad Fork Dessert Stainless Flatware Silverware Round Tip
$4.95
Time Remaining: 5h 36m
Buy It Now for only: $4.95
Buy It Now | Add to watch list
Oneida Cabana Oval Soup Spoon Place Stainless Flatware Silverware Round Tip
Oneida Cabana Oval Soup Spoon Place Stainless Flatware Silverware Round Tip
$4.95
Time Remaining: 5h 36m
Buy It Now for only: $4.95
Buy It Now | Add to watch list
Vintage ORLEANS pattern silverware flower 625 salad fork
Vintage ORLEANS pattern silverware flower 625 salad fork
$4.99
Time Remaining: 5h 41m
Buy It Now for only: $4.99
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

« Previous1234
Silverware Flatware
  • Flatware Silverware
  • Silver Silverware
  • Sterling Silver Silverware
  • Antique Silverware
  • Silver Plated Silverware
  • Tagged with:

    Filed under: Sterling Silver Flatware

    Like this post? Subscribe to my RSS feed and get loads more!