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
24 PC Vintage Mixed Lot Fancy  Plain Knives Forks Spoons Silverware Flatware
24 PC Vintage Mixed Lot Fancy Plain Knives Forks Spoons Silverware Flatware
$17.99
Time Remaining: 30m
Buy It Now for only: $24.99
Buy It Now | Bid now | Add to watch list
Set of 3 vintage provincial wheat silverware
Set of 3 vintage provincial wheat silverware
$4.99
Time Remaining: 32m
Bid now | Add to watch list
Set of 5 assorted vintage oneida ltd silverware
Set of 5 assorted vintage oneida ltd silverware
$4.99
Time Remaining: 32m
Bid now | Add to watch list
Set of 5 vintage assorted rogers silverware
Set of 5 vintage assorted rogers silverware
$4.99
Time Remaining: 32m
Bid now | Add to watch list
6 Place 31 piece 1919 AMBASSADOR 1847 Rogers Silverplate Flatware Set Silverware
6 Place 31 piece 1919 AMBASSADOR 1847 Rogers Silverplate Flatware Set Silverware
$61.95 (5 Bids)
Time Remaining: 34m
Bid now | Add to watch list
Prill Sheffield England Porcelain Hand Painted Silverware PINK 16 Pieces
Prill Sheffield England Porcelain Hand Painted Silverware PINK 16 Pieces
$29.99
Time Remaining: 34m
Bid now | Add to watch list
Set of 3 assorted usa silverware
Set of 3 assorted usa silverware
$4.99
Time Remaining: 35m
Bid now | Add to watch list
Set of 19 vintage amc troy japan silverware
Set of 19 vintage amc troy japan silverware
$9.99
Time Remaining: 35m
Bid now | Add to watch list
Set of 8 vintage assorted japan silverware
Set of 8 vintage assorted japan silverware
$4.99
Time Remaining: 35m
Bid now | Add to watch list
Set of 19 vintage japan silverware
Set of 19 vintage japan silverware
$9.99
Time Remaining: 35m
Bid now | Add to watch list
Set of 3 assorted vintage silco silverware
Set of 3 assorted vintage silco silverware
$4.99
Time Remaining: 35m
Bid now | Add to watch list
Lot of 19 assorted vintage silverware
Lot of 19 assorted vintage silverware
$9.99
Time Remaining: 35m
Bid now | Add to watch list
14 Piece ROBERTA 1938 Roger Silverplate Flatware Set Fork Spoon Silverware Deco
14 Piece ROBERTA 1938 Roger Silverplate Flatware Set Fork Spoon Silverware Deco
$12.95
Time Remaining: 36m
Bid now | Add to watch list
37 Pieces of mixed silver ware Oneida Community Reed  Barton Rogers forks spoon
37 Pieces of mixed silver ware Oneida Community Reed Barton Rogers forks spoon
$24.99
Time Remaining: 40m
Bid now | Add to watch list
Reed  Barton Elite Silverplated Flatware Silverware Tableware Srvc 12  CHEST
Reed Barton Elite Silverplated Flatware Silverware Tableware Srvc 12 CHEST
$169.99
Time Remaining: 49m
Buy It Now for only: $221.99
Buy It Now | Bid now | Add to watch list
Antique Wood FLATWARE SILVERWARE STORAGE BOX CHEST Unique
Antique Wood FLATWARE SILVERWARE STORAGE BOX CHEST Unique
$24.99
Time Remaining: 51m
Buy It Now for only: $34.99
Buy It Now | Bid now | Add to watch list
NWT Halloween 12 pc Silverware Flatware kids party decor
NWT Halloween 12 pc Silverware Flatware kids party decor
$7.50
Time Remaining: 56m
Buy It Now for only: $7.50
Buy It Now | Add to watch list
Oneida OHS 103 THOR 2 Oval Place Soup Spoons Stainless Flatware Silverware
Oneida OHS 103 THOR 2 Oval Place Soup Spoons Stainless Flatware Silverware
$5.95
Time Remaining: 58m
Bid now | Add to watch list
Oneida OHS 103 THOR Dinner Fork Stainless Flatware Silverware 7 1 8 Inches
Oneida OHS 103 THOR Dinner Fork Stainless Flatware Silverware 7 1 8 Inches
$5.95
Time Remaining: 58m
Bid now | Add to watch list
Oneida OHS 103 THOR Lot of 4 Salad Forks Stainless Flatware Silverware
Oneida OHS 103 THOR Lot of 4 Salad Forks Stainless Flatware Silverware
$6.95
Time Remaining: 58m
Bid now | Add to watch list
Oneida Silverware Flatware Tableware Paul Revere 23 pieces
Oneida Silverware Flatware Tableware Paul Revere 23 pieces
$44.99
Time Remaining: 1h
Buy It Now for only: $59.99
Buy It Now | Bid now | Add to watch list
VINTAGE FLATWARE SILVERWARE STORAGE BOX WITH LOWER DRAWER
VINTAGE FLATWARE SILVERWARE STORAGE BOX WITH LOWER DRAWER
$40.00
Time Remaining: 1h 4m
Bid now | Add to watch list
VINTAGE INTERPUR ROSE STAINLESS FLATWARE SILVERWARE 49 pcs
VINTAGE INTERPUR ROSE STAINLESS FLATWARE SILVERWARE 49 pcs
$14.99 (1 Bid)
Time Remaining: 1h 7m
Bid now | Add to watch list
VTG MID CENTURY EPIC  WOODWIND WOOD CUTLERY STAINLESS SILVERWARE FLATWARE JAPAN
VTG MID CENTURY EPIC WOODWIND WOOD CUTLERY STAINLESS SILVERWARE FLATWARE JAPAN
$24.99
Time Remaining: 1h 11m
Bid now | Add to watch list
4 POTTERY BARN STAINLESS 18 8 PBN20 Tubular Abstract Silverware Flatware Knives
4 POTTERY BARN STAINLESS 18 8 PBN20 Tubular Abstract Silverware Flatware Knives
$0.99 (1 Bid)
Time Remaining: 1h 14m
Bid now | Add to watch list
5 POTTERY BARN STAINLESS 18 8 PBN20 Tubular Abstract Silverware SALAD FORK SET
5 POTTERY BARN STAINLESS 18 8 PBN20 Tubular Abstract Silverware SALAD FORK SET
$1.04 (2 Bids)
Time Remaining: 1h 14m
Bid 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!