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
New Woven Traditions Longaberger Flatware Set of 40+3 For 8 people Silverware
New Woven Traditions Longaberger Flatware Set of 40+3 For 8 people Silverware
$400.00
Time Remaining: 33m
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Oneida Rose Shadow Solid Serving Spoon Community Stainless Flatware Silverware
Oneida Rose Shadow Solid Serving Spoon Community Stainless Flatware Silverware
$9.95
Time Remaining: 50m
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Vintage 1847 Rogers Bros Silverware Daffodil Pattern 8 Teaspoons 10 Forks 7+3
Vintage 1847 Rogers Bros Silverware Daffodil Pattern 8 Teaspoons 10 Forks 7+3
$39.99 (1 Bid)
Time Remaining: 1h 8m
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Oneida Shoreline Dinner Knife Stainless Flatware Silverware Wm A Rogers
Oneida Shoreline Dinner Knife Stainless Flatware Silverware Wm A Rogers
$4.99
Time Remaining: 1h 8m
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Oneida ALEXIS Stainless Deluxe Flatware Silverware 71 Pcs Alot of Extra Pieces
Oneida ALEXIS Stainless Deluxe Flatware Silverware 71 Pcs Alot of Extra Pieces
$1,099.00
Time Remaining: 1h 13m
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Rogers New Century 1898 Silverplate Five Oclock Spoon Silverware Victorian 1898
Rogers New Century 1898 Silverplate Five Oclock Spoon Silverware Victorian 1898
$4.00
Time Remaining: 1h 21m
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Rustic Cabin Flatware Service Lodge 8 Settings 45 Deer Elk Silverware Set Hunter
Rustic Cabin Flatware Service Lodge 8 Settings 45 Deer Elk Silverware Set Hunter
$165.99
Time Remaining: 1h 21m
Buy It Now for only: $165.99
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Paul Revere Community Silverplate Silverware Pickle Fork Stippled Design 1927
Paul Revere Community Silverplate Silverware Pickle Fork Stippled Design 1927
$6.00
Time Remaining: 1h 22m
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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
$77.82
Time Remaining: 2h 13m
Buy It Now for only: $77.82
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Holmes And Edwards Inlaid Silverware
Holmes And Edwards Inlaid Silverware
$15.00
Time Remaining: 2h 34m
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3pc Hammered Stainless Steel Spoons Flatware Silverware
3pc Hammered Stainless Steel Spoons Flatware Silverware
$4.00
Time Remaining: 3h 3m
Buy It Now for only: $8.00
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PRICE DROP 6 Pc EPSS Japan Silver plated Flatware Silverware
PRICE DROP 6 Pc EPSS Japan Silver plated Flatware Silverware
$12.00
Time Remaining: 3h 27m
Buy It Now for only: $19.00
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1 Place Setting Of Brass And Teak Flatware Silverware
1 Place Setting Of Brass And Teak Flatware Silverware
$15.00
Time Remaining: 3h 45m
Buy It Now for only: $30.00
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Safety Travel Stainless Steel Cutlery Chopstick Spoon Fork Flatware Silverware
Safety Travel Stainless Steel Cutlery Chopstick Spoon Fork Flatware Silverware
$2.81
Time Remaining: 3h 56m
Buy It Now for only: $2.81
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VTG 1847 ROGER SILVERWARE BOX BRASS  WOOD FLATWARE
VTG 1847 ROGER SILVERWARE BOX BRASS WOOD FLATWARE
$29.99
Time Remaining: 3h 57m
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Oneida Dighton Rose Dinner Fork Princess House Stainless Flatware Silverware
Oneida Dighton Rose Dinner Fork Princess House Stainless Flatware Silverware
$13.97
Time Remaining: 4h 7m
Buy It Now for only: $13.97
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STEIFF SILVERSMITHFlatware carrier cover holder Silverware bluefork spoon knif
STEIFF SILVERSMITHFlatware carrier cover holder Silverware bluefork spoon knif
$12.99
Time Remaining: 5h 5m
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78 Pc Silverware Set Stainless Steel Flatware Serving 12 Tableware Dinnerware
78 Pc Silverware Set Stainless Steel Flatware Serving 12 Tableware Dinnerware
$98.85
Time Remaining: 5h 27m
Buy It Now for only: $98.85
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Oneida 79pc Stainless China Set Mid Century Modern Silverware Mixed Lot
Oneida 79pc Stainless China Set Mid Century Modern Silverware Mixed Lot
$220.00 (33 Bids)
Time Remaining: 5h 32m
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Antique WWII US Navy Large Silverware Spoon Silco Large 8
Antique WWII US Navy Large Silverware Spoon Silco Large 8
$58.88
Time Remaining: 6h 10m
Buy It Now for only: $58.88
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Flatware Silverware RONDINE Stainless Japan DINNER FORKS 4 Vintage
Flatware Silverware RONDINE Stainless Japan DINNER FORKS 4 Vintage
$11.00
Time Remaining: 6h 27m
Buy It Now for only: $11.00
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Silverware Flatware IMPERIAL Stainless EARLY ROSE Spoons Discontinued 3
Silverware Flatware IMPERIAL Stainless EARLY ROSE Spoons Discontinued 3
$11.99
Time Remaining: 6h 27m
Buy It Now for only: $11.99
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Silverware Flatware Leonard OLD ROCKPORT Stainless SPOONS Mixed LOT Soup Tea
Silverware Flatware Leonard OLD ROCKPORT Stainless SPOONS Mixed LOT Soup Tea
$26.99
Time Remaining: 6h 27m
Buy It Now for only: $26.99
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Flatware Silverware EKCO EKS19 Stainless SALAD DESSERT FORKS 3 Made in USA
Flatware Silverware EKCO EKS19 Stainless SALAD DESSERT FORKS 3 Made in USA
$9.29
Time Remaining: 6h 27m
Buy It Now for only: $9.29
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Flatware Silverware Northland Stainless FORKS 4 EVENING STAR Salad Dessert
Flatware Silverware Northland Stainless FORKS 4 EVENING STAR Salad Dessert
$12.99
Time Remaining: 6h 27m
Buy It Now for only: $12.99
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Rockford Longfellow TEASPOONS Silverplate Flatware Silverware Oneida
Rockford Longfellow TEASPOONS Silverplate Flatware Silverware Oneida
$26.99
Time Remaining: 6h 27m
Buy It Now for only: $26.99
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Silverware Flatware
  • Flatware Silverware
  • Silver Silverware
  • Sterling Silver Silverware
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  • Silver Plated Silverware
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    Filed under: Sterling Silver Flatware

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