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
4PCS Stainless Steel Flatware Set Service Cutlery Silverware Tableware
4PCS Stainless Steel Flatware Set Service Cutlery Silverware Tableware
$16.99
Time Remaining: 1h 3m
Buy It Now for only: $16.99
Buy It Now | Add to watch list
Comtemporary Flatware Set Stainless Steel 20 Piece Silverware Fork Dining Formal
Comtemporary Flatware Set Stainless Steel 20 Piece Silverware Fork Dining Formal
$64.30
Time Remaining: 1h 44m
Buy It Now for only: $64.30
Buy It Now | Add to watch list
International Sterling Silver Prelude marked 41 piece silverware set w case
International Sterling Silver Prelude marked 41 piece silverware set w case
$800.00
Time Remaining: 3h 30m
Buy It Now for only: $1,100.00
Buy It Now | Bid now | Add to watch list
Interpur Stainless Silverware BLACK HANDLE Two Dinner Knives
Interpur Stainless Silverware BLACK HANDLE Two Dinner Knives
$12.99
Time Remaining: 3h 37m
Buy It Now for only: $12.99
Buy It Now | Add to watch list
Coventry Stainless Silverware BOUQUET 2 Teaspoons
Coventry Stainless Silverware BOUQUET 2 Teaspoons
$9.99
Time Remaining: 3h 43m
Buy It Now for only: $9.99
Buy It Now | Add to watch list
Dirilyte Silverware REGAL 2 Salad Forks
Dirilyte Silverware REGAL 2 Salad Forks
$13.99
Time Remaining: 4h 4m
Buy It Now for only: $13.99
Buy It Now | Add to watch list
12 Of VINTAGE SILVERPLATE WM A ROGERS ORIGINAL SILVERWARE FLORAL FRUIT DESIGN
12 Of VINTAGE SILVERPLATE WM A ROGERS ORIGINAL SILVERWARE FLORAL FRUIT DESIGN
$16.99
Time Remaining: 4h 11m
Buy It Now for only: $16.99
Buy It Now | Add to watch list
Star Design Sapphire Flatware Silverware Japan Salad Fork
Star Design Sapphire Flatware Silverware Japan Salad Fork
$10.99
Time Remaining: 4h 19m
Buy It Now for only: $10.99
Buy It Now | Add to watch list
Star Design Sapphire Flatware Silverware Japan Dinner Fork
Star Design Sapphire Flatware Silverware Japan Dinner Fork
$10.99
Time Remaining: 4h 19m
Buy It Now for only: $10.99
Buy It Now | Add to watch list
1940 AD Sterling Silver Flatware Silverware Beauty Maytime Pattern Design
1940 AD Sterling Silver Flatware Silverware Beauty Maytime Pattern Design
$12.99
Time Remaining: 4h 37m
Buy It Now for only: $12.99
Buy It Now | Add to watch list
3 Oneida Cherbourg Seafood Relish Forks Community Stainless Flatware Silverware
3 Oneida Cherbourg Seafood Relish Forks Community Stainless Flatware Silverware
$7.99 (1 Bid)
Time Remaining: 4h 37m
Bid now | Add to watch list
1940 AD Sterling Silver Flatware Silverware Bridal Virginia Lady Fiancee
1940 AD Sterling Silver Flatware Silverware Bridal Virginia Lady Fiancee
$12.99
Time Remaining: 4h 37m
Buy It Now for only: $12.99
Buy It Now | Add to watch list
1940 AD Sterling Silver Flatware Silverware Chapel Bells Chased Romantique
1940 AD Sterling Silver Flatware Silverware Chapel Bells Chased Romantique
$12.99
Time Remaining: 4h 38m
Buy It Now for only: $12.99
Buy It Now | Add to watch list
1940 AD Sterling Silver Flatware Silverware Chatelaine Talisman Rose Gaycourt
1940 AD Sterling Silver Flatware Silverware Chatelaine Talisman Rose Gaycourt
$12.99
Time Remaining: 4h 39m
Buy It Now for only: $12.99
Buy It Now | Add to watch list
Vintage 11 Piece Childs Toy Silverware Set flatware  Muffin Tin Pan
Vintage 11 Piece Childs Toy Silverware Set flatware Muffin Tin Pan
$4.99
Time Remaining: 4h 40m
Bid now | Add to watch list
1938 AD Flatware Silverware Plaza Design Court Pattern
1938 AD Flatware Silverware Plaza Design Court Pattern
$12.99
Time Remaining: 4h 40m
Buy It Now for only: $12.99
Buy It Now | Add to watch list
1940 AD Sterling Silver Flatware Silverware Mastercraft Della Robbia
1940 AD Sterling Silver Flatware Silverware Mastercraft Della Robbia
$12.99
Time Remaining: 4h 42m
Buy It Now for only: $12.99
Buy It Now | Add to watch list
Leilani Rogers Bros Silverplate Silverware Pie Server Order of Eastern Star
Leilani Rogers Bros Silverplate Silverware Pie Server Order of Eastern Star
$10.00
Time Remaining: 4h 44m
Buy It Now for only: $10.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list
1938 AD Rogers Silverware Flatware New Concord Warwick Silver
1938 AD Rogers Silverware Flatware New Concord Warwick Silver
$12.99
Time Remaining: 4h 44m
Buy It Now for only: $12.99
Buy It Now | Add to watch list
Pfaltzgraff Stainless Silverware SCHEMATICS Salad Fork
Pfaltzgraff Stainless Silverware SCHEMATICS Salad Fork
$7.99
Time Remaining: 4h 48m
Buy It Now for only: $13.99
Buy It Now | Bid now | Add to watch list
Oneida Maestro St Leger Iced Tea Spoon SSS Stainless Flatware Silverware Glossy
Oneida Maestro St Leger Iced Tea Spoon SSS Stainless Flatware Silverware Glossy
$16.99
Time Remaining: 4h 53m
Buy It Now for only: $16.99
Buy It Now | Add to watch list
Oneida Royal Flute Teaspoon NEW Community Stainless Flatware Silverware
Oneida Royal Flute Teaspoon NEW Community Stainless Flatware Silverware
$29.99
Time Remaining: 4h 55m
Buy It Now for only: $29.99
Buy It Now | Add to watch list
Oneida Cantata Oval Soup Spoon Community Stainless Flatware Silverware Glossy
Oneida Cantata Oval Soup Spoon Community Stainless Flatware Silverware Glossy
$4.99
Time Remaining: 5h 3m
Buy It Now for only: $4.99
Buy It Now | Add to watch list
Dirilyte Silverware REGAL LUNCHEON Fork
Dirilyte Silverware REGAL LUNCHEON Fork
$8.99
Time Remaining: 5h 13m
Buy It Now for only: $8.99
Buy It Now | Add to watch list
Superior Stainless Silverware CHAPEL HILL Tablespoon
Superior Stainless Silverware CHAPEL HILL Tablespoon
$11.99
Time Remaining: 5h 13m
Buy It Now for only: $11.99
Buy It Now | Add to watch list
Oneida Sumatra NEW Sugar Spoon Northland Stainless Flatware Silverware
Oneida Sumatra NEW Sugar Spoon Northland Stainless Flatware Silverware
$8.99
Time Remaining: 5h 13m
Buy It Now for only: $8.99
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!