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
1924 Holmes Edwards RomanceCentury Silverware Flatware AD Original ADVERTISING
1924 Holmes Edwards RomanceCentury Silverware Flatware AD Original ADVERTISING
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Reed  Barton Royal Majesty Teaspoon VGC Luxury Stainless Flatware Silverware
Reed Barton Royal Majesty Teaspoon VGC Luxury Stainless Flatware Silverware
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JUBILEE Wm Rogers  Co IS 1953 Silverplate Silverware Flatware CHOICE
JUBILEE Wm Rogers Co IS 1953 Silverplate Silverware Flatware CHOICE
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13 PCS ABERT NICROLI 18 12 SILVERWARE W BROWN 6 SPOONS 6 FORKS 1 SERVING SPOON
13 PCS ABERT NICROLI 18 12 SILVERWARE W BROWN 6 SPOONS 6 FORKS 1 SERVING SPOON
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New Flatware Set Coca Cola 16 Pc Stain Resistant Stainless Steel Silverware Ta
New Flatware Set Coca Cola 16 Pc Stain Resistant Stainless Steel Silverware Ta
$85.11
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Oneida Caprice Solid Serving Spoon Silverplate Flatware Silverware
Oneida Caprice Solid Serving Spoon Silverplate Flatware Silverware
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Time Remaining: 2h 44m
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Oneida Caprice Sugar Spoon Silverplate Flatware Silverware
Oneida Caprice Sugar Spoon Silverplate Flatware Silverware
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Oneida Lakewood Tuxedo Dinner Knife SSS Stainless Flatware Silverware
Oneida Lakewood Tuxedo Dinner Knife SSS Stainless Flatware Silverware
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Oneida Wordsworth Salad Fork NEW Stainless Flatware Silverware
Oneida Wordsworth Salad Fork NEW Stainless Flatware Silverware
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VINTAGE BEIGE PLASTIC UTENSIL FLATWARE SILVERWARE DRAWER ORGANIZER TRAY
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Silverware Flatware Cutlery Utensil Storage Basket Organizer Holder Caddy Handle
Silverware Flatware Cutlery Utensil Storage Basket Organizer Holder Caddy Handle
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Reed Barton Dinnerware Silverware Flatware Chest Storage Silver Gift Cutlery
Reed Barton Dinnerware Silverware Flatware Chest Storage Silver Gift Cutlery
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Oneida Oceanic Demitasse Spoon EXC Stainless Flatware Silverware
Oneida Oceanic Demitasse Spoon EXC Stainless Flatware Silverware
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CHEFS Classic Elegance Pasta Fork Silverware Set 6 Pieces
CHEFS Classic Elegance Pasta Fork Silverware Set 6 Pieces
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Spectrum 46110 Scroll Silverware Caddy Black by Spectrum Diversified NEW
Spectrum 46110 Scroll Silverware Caddy Black by Spectrum Diversified NEW
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International American Charm Dinner Knife VGC Stainless Flatware Silverware
International American Charm Dinner Knife VGC Stainless Flatware Silverware
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Vintage Mixed Lot of Child Youth Infant Stainless Flatware Silverware 11 Pieces
Vintage Mixed Lot of Child Youth Infant Stainless Flatware Silverware 11 Pieces
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Lenox Haute Couture fine silverplate silverware 1 5pc place setting new
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Vintage REVERE Stainless Black Handle Knives Flatware Silverware 8 Pieces
Vintage REVERE Stainless Black Handle Knives Flatware Silverware 8 Pieces
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Set Lot of 4 Oneida Bordeaux Salad Fork silverware BRAND NEW FREE SHIPPING
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Durable Glass  Metal Flatware Caddy with Wooden Handle 4 Section Silverware or
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Silver Flatware Storage Chest Silverware Drawer Case Wood Vintage Set Box
Silver Flatware Storage Chest Silverware Drawer Case Wood Vintage Set Box
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1 X COMMERCIAL 6 HOLE STAINLESS STEEL CYLINDER FLATWARE SILVERWARE UTENSIL CADDY
1 X COMMERCIAL 6 HOLE STAINLESS STEEL CYLINDER FLATWARE SILVERWARE UTENSIL CADDY
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Cutlery Tray Caddy Kitchen Drawer Utensil Organizer Silverware Flatware Storage
Cutlery Tray Caddy Kitchen Drawer Utensil Organizer Silverware Flatware Storage
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Kitchen Drawer Organizer Cutlery Tray Caddy Silverware Flatware Utensil Storage
Kitchen Drawer Organizer Cutlery Tray Caddy Silverware Flatware Utensil Storage
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Oneida Clarette Butter Spreader VGC Stainless Flatware Silverware Glossy
Oneida Clarette Butter Spreader VGC Stainless Flatware Silverware Glossy
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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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