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
20 Piece Silverware Flatware Complete Set For 4 Fork Knife Spoon Teaspoon Blue
20 Piece Silverware Flatware Complete Set For 4 Fork Knife Spoon Teaspoon Blue
$43.50
Time Remaining: 31m
Buy It Now for only: $43.50
Buy It Now | Add to watch list
ONEIDA USA CHILDRENS KIDS Silverware Cutlery Utensils Fork Knives Spoons Nice
ONEIDA USA CHILDRENS KIDS Silverware Cutlery Utensils Fork Knives Spoons Nice
$9.99
Time Remaining: 33m
Bid now | Add to watch list
24PC FLATWARE SILVERWARE CUTLERY SET FORKS KNIFES SPOONS INOX S S ZL 723G PETRA
24PC FLATWARE SILVERWARE CUTLERY SET FORKS KNIFES SPOONS INOX S S ZL 723G PETRA
$39.95
Time Remaining: 42m
Buy It Now for only: $39.95
Buy It Now | Add to watch list
699 Stratford Plate Sectional Silverware 11 pcs
699 Stratford Plate Sectional Silverware 11 pcs
$15.99
Time Remaining: 44m
Buy It Now for only: $26.99
Buy It Now | Bid now | Add to watch list
698 Misc Silverware Par Plate  Nickel Silver  Stainless Oneida +
698 Misc Silverware Par Plate Nickel Silver Stainless Oneida +
$17.99
Time Remaining: 44m
Buy It Now for only: $25.99
Buy It Now | Bid now | Add to watch list
697 Oneida Community Silver Plated Silverware Par Plate
697 Oneida Community Silver Plated Silverware Par Plate
$9.99
Time Remaining: 44m
Buy It Now for only: $15.99
Buy It Now | Bid now | Add to watch list
Four Vintage Sterling Silver Silverware Parts
Four Vintage Sterling Silver Silverware Parts
$30.91
Time Remaining: 44m
Buy It Now for only: $30.91
Buy It Now | Add to watch list
20 Piece Silverware Flatware Complete Set For 4 Fork Knife Spoon Teaspoon Black
20 Piece Silverware Flatware Complete Set For 4 Fork Knife Spoon Teaspoon Black
$36.99
Time Remaining: 45m
Buy It Now for only: $36.99
Buy It Now | Add to watch list
24PC FLATWARE SILVERWARE CUTLERY SET FORKS KNIFES SPOONS INOX S S ZL 723G YANA
24PC FLATWARE SILVERWARE CUTLERY SET FORKS KNIFES SPOONS INOX S S ZL 723G YANA
$39.95
Time Remaining: 46m
Buy It Now for only: $39.95
Buy It Now | Add to watch list
RICCI LABIRINTO FLATWARE 5 PC 1810 STAINLESS STEEL HIGHEST QUALITY SILVERWARE
RICCI LABIRINTO FLATWARE 5 PC 1810 STAINLESS STEEL HIGHEST QUALITY SILVERWARE
$34.99
Time Remaining: 49m
Buy It Now for only: $34.99
Buy It Now | Add to watch list
Eternally Yours 1941 Vintage Silver Plated Silverware Flatware Spoon Bracelet
Eternally Yours 1941 Vintage Silver Plated Silverware Flatware Spoon Bracelet
$20.45
Time Remaining: 49m
Buy It Now for only: $20.45
Buy It Now | Add to watch list
Gorham stainless silverware floral knives and forks replacements
Gorham stainless silverware floral knives and forks replacements
$6.00
Time Remaining: 58m
Bid now | Add to watch list
6 Serving Spoons 1 Butter Knife 1 Jam Wm Rogers Extra Plate Silverware Magnolia
6 Serving Spoons 1 Butter Knife 1 Jam Wm Rogers Extra Plate Silverware Magnolia
$5.95
Time Remaining: 59m
Buy It Now for only: $9.95
Buy It Now | Bid now | Add to watch list
Bamboo Utensil Cutlery Flatware Silverware Storage Organizer Drawer Tray
Bamboo Utensil Cutlery Flatware Silverware Storage Organizer Drawer Tray
$30.00
Time Remaining: 1h 2m
Bid now | Add to watch list
Vintage Nakens Wood Art Deco Silverware Flatware Storage Box Chest Anti Tarnish
Vintage Nakens Wood Art Deco Silverware Flatware Storage Box Chest Anti Tarnish
$19.99
Time Remaining: 1h 3m
Bid now | Add to watch list
Vintage Silverware Flatware Pocket Watch Garden Wind Chime Green Beads OOAK
Vintage Silverware Flatware Pocket Watch Garden Wind Chime Green Beads OOAK
$24.99
Time Remaining: 1h 5m
Bid now | Add to watch list
Vintage Wm Rogers International Silverware Set in folding case
Vintage Wm Rogers International Silverware Set in folding case
$50.00
Time Remaining: 1h 6m
Bid now | Add to watch list
Wm A Rogers 1935 CAPRI Silverplate Set 59 pieces Oneida silverware flatware
Wm A Rogers 1935 CAPRI Silverplate Set 59 pieces Oneida silverware flatware
$36.00 (8 Bids)
Time Remaining: 1h 7m
Bid now | Add to watch list
Service For 12 Holmes  Edwards Inlaid IS Lovely Lady 75pc True Silverware Set
Service For 12 Holmes Edwards Inlaid IS Lovely Lady 75pc True Silverware Set
$142.51 (54 Bids)
Time Remaining: 1h 7m
Bid now | Add to watch list
WMF Manaos Bistro Salad Dessert Fork Cromargan Stainless Flatware Silverware
WMF Manaos Bistro Salad Dessert Fork Cromargan Stainless Flatware Silverware
$3.44
Time Remaining: 1h 8m
Buy It Now for only: $3.44
Buy It Now | Add to watch list
WMF Manaos Bistro Oval Soup Place Spoon Cromargan Stainless Flatware Silverware
WMF Manaos Bistro Oval Soup Place Spoon Cromargan Stainless Flatware Silverware
$3.44
Time Remaining: 1h 9m
Buy It Now for only: $3.44
Buy It Now | Add to watch list
STAINLESS STEEL FLATWARE SILVERWARE JAPAN SET OF SERVING PIECES
STAINLESS STEEL FLATWARE SILVERWARE JAPAN SET OF SERVING PIECES
$14.99
Time Remaining: 1h 10m
Bid now | Add to watch list
WMF Manaos Bistro Teaspoon Cromargan Stainless Flatware Silverware
WMF Manaos Bistro Teaspoon Cromargan Stainless Flatware Silverware
$4.31
Time Remaining: 1h 11m
Buy It Now for only: $4.31
Buy It Now | Add to watch list
5 Piece HOSTESS SERVING SET Flatware Silverware
5 Piece HOSTESS SERVING SET Flatware Silverware
$15.95
Time Remaining: 1h 11m
Buy It Now for only: $15.95
Buy It Now | Add to watch list
1847 Rogers IS Her Majesty Silverplate 4 Dinner Knives Vintage 1931 Silverware
1847 Rogers IS Her Majesty Silverplate 4 Dinner Knives Vintage 1931 Silverware
$21.95
Time Remaining: 1h 15m
Buy It Now for only: $21.95
Buy It Now | Add to watch list
1847 Rogers IS Her Majesty Silverplate 2 Serving Spoon VTG 1931 Silverware 1A
1847 Rogers IS Her Majesty Silverplate 2 Serving Spoon VTG 1931 Silverware 1A
$9.45
Time Remaining: 1h 15m
Buy It Now for only: $9.45
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!