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
6 Ancient Forks 800 Silver Silverware Pastry Fork
6 Ancient Forks 800 Silver Silverware Pastry Fork
$146.82
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109 pc Nobility Plate Reverie Silverplate Silverware Flatware service for 10
109 pc Nobility Plate Reverie Silverplate Silverware Flatware service for 10
$155.00
Time Remaining: 1h 10m
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93pc VTG Oneida South Seas Community Silverplate Flatware Silverware
93pc VTG Oneida South Seas Community Silverplate Flatware Silverware
$205.00
Time Remaining: 1h 12m
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Chambly Tulipe fine French silverware 1 4pc place setting new made in France
Chambly Tulipe fine French silverware 1 4pc place setting new made in France
$99.00
Time Remaining: 1h 15m
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Wallace 1810 sterling silverware 1 cake knife new in perfect condition
Wallace 1810 sterling silverware 1 cake knife new in perfect condition
$99.00
Time Remaining: 1h 15m
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Gorham fine stainless silverware 1 boxed set oversized serving set new perfect
Gorham fine stainless silverware 1 boxed set oversized serving set new perfect
$79.00
Time Remaining: 1h 15m
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Wallace Silversmiths Old Atlantic sterling silverware 1 pie server new
Wallace Silversmiths Old Atlantic sterling silverware 1 pie server new
$119.00
Time Remaining: 1h 15m
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Couzon Ryegate no metal fine French 18 10 stainless silverware 1 5pc
Couzon Ryegate no metal fine French 18 10 stainless silverware 1 5pc
$89.00
Time Remaining: 1h 15m
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Couzon Avignon Satin French stainless silverware serve set 3 pc new perfect
Couzon Avignon Satin French stainless silverware serve set 3 pc new perfect
$119.00
Time Remaining: 1h 15m
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Oneida Affection fine 18 8 stainless silverware 1 5pc place setting new
Oneida Affection fine 18 8 stainless silverware 1 5pc place setting new
$59.00
Time Remaining: 1h 15m
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Retroneau Villa fine 18 8stainless silverware 1 5pc place setting new
Retroneau Villa fine 18 8stainless silverware 1 5pc place setting new
$79.00
Time Remaining: 1h 15m
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Retroneau Villa fine 18 8 stainless silverware 1 6pc hostess set new
Retroneau Villa fine 18 8 stainless silverware 1 6pc hostess set new
$169.00
Time Remaining: 1h 15m
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Oneida Julliard fine 18 8 heirloom stainless silverware 3 pc serve set new US
Oneida Julliard fine 18 8 heirloom stainless silverware 3 pc serve set new US
$69.00
Time Remaining: 1h 30m
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Couzon Eclat Dore 18 10 fine French stainless silverware 2 5pc settings
Couzon Eclat Dore 18 10 fine French stainless silverware 2 5pc settings
$129.00
Time Remaining: 1h 30m
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Wallace Caribbean fine sterling silverware 1 large serving fork new
Wallace Caribbean fine sterling silverware 1 large serving fork new
$119.00
Time Remaining: 1h 30m
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Vintage Wooden Flatware Silverware Cutlery Tray with Green Windmills
Vintage Wooden Flatware Silverware Cutlery Tray with Green Windmills
$14.99
Time Remaining: 1h 45m
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Stainless Skull Steel Spoon Sugar Skull Tea Coffee Spoon Collectible Silverware
Stainless Skull Steel Spoon Sugar Skull Tea Coffee Spoon Collectible Silverware
$2.59
Time Remaining: 1h 45m
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Rogers mpg co extra plated silverware
Rogers mpg co extra plated silverware
$50.00
Time Remaining: 1h 47m
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2 Silverware Flatware Storage Bag Gray Flannel Cloth Bag Pouch Handmade Vtg 12
2 Silverware Flatware Storage Bag Gray Flannel Cloth Bag Pouch Handmade Vtg 12
$12.99
Time Remaining: 2h
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Vintage Lot of 33 Pieces Silverware Mostly Marked wm Rogers Lot 16 15 7 A
Vintage Lot of 33 Pieces Silverware Mostly Marked wm Rogers Lot 16 15 7 A
$19.99
Time Remaining: 3h 7m
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Vintage Wood Silverware Box 11 x 15 x 3 Lot 16 15 8 A
Vintage Wood Silverware Box 11 x 15 x 3 Lot 16 15 8 A
$24.99
Time Remaining: 3h 10m
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Vintage Wood Silverware Box With Drawer 11 x 15 x 5 Lot 16 15 10 B
Vintage Wood Silverware Box With Drawer 11 x 15 x 5 Lot 16 15 10 B
$49.99
Time Remaining: 3h 15m
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LENOX PORTOLA 12 SETS 65 pcs STAINLESS FLATWARE SILVERWARE NEW
LENOX PORTOLA 12 SETS 65 pcs STAINLESS FLATWARE SILVERWARE NEW
$85.00
Time Remaining: 3h 20m
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Double wedding ring chest with William Rogers silverplate silverware Gorgeous 54
Double wedding ring chest with William Rogers silverplate silverware Gorgeous 54
$199.00
Time Remaining: 3h 22m
Buy It Now for only: $329.00
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1847 Wm Rogers Bros LOVELACE Silverware Pieces Silver Plate Flatware YOUR CHOICE
1847 Wm Rogers Bros LOVELACE Silverware Pieces Silver Plate Flatware YOUR CHOICE
$5.79
Time Remaining: 3h 27m
Buy It Now for only: $5.79
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Dansk Rondure Soup Place Spoon 7 5 8 NIP Stainless Flatware Silverware
Dansk Rondure Soup Place Spoon 7 5 8 NIP Stainless Flatware Silverware
$5.99
Time Remaining: 3h 34m
Buy It Now for only: $5.99
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Silverware Flatware
  • Flatware Silverware
  • Silver Silverware
  • Sterling Silver Silverware
  • Antique Silverware
  • Silver Plated Silverware
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    Filed under: Sterling Silver Flatware

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