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
4pc stainless steel flatware cutlery set tableware novelty silverware dinnerware
4pc stainless steel flatware cutlery set tableware novelty silverware dinnerware
$7.99
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Towle Stainless Silverware MERRIMACK Two Place Spoons
Towle Stainless Silverware MERRIMACK Two Place Spoons
$16.99
Time Remaining: 39m
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Towle Stainless Silverware MERRIMACK Two Teaspoons
Towle Stainless Silverware MERRIMACK Two Teaspoons
$13.99
Time Remaining: 39m
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43 PIECE TRENDY VINTAGE THANKSGIVING MISMATCHED SILVERPLATE SILVERWARE SET
43 PIECE TRENDY VINTAGE THANKSGIVING MISMATCHED SILVERPLATE SILVERWARE SET
$99.99
Time Remaining: 42m
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International 18 0 Glossy Stainless Silverware EDGEBROOK Teaspoon
International 18 0 Glossy Stainless Silverware EDGEBROOK Teaspoon
$3.95
Time Remaining: 43m
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1847 Rogers Bros 43 Pcs Eternally Yours Silver plate silverware set silverplate
1847 Rogers Bros 43 Pcs Eternally Yours Silver plate silverware set silverplate
$64.85 (1 Bid)
Time Remaining: 47m
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Oneida USA Distinction Deluxe RAPHAEL Stainless Silverware Flatware YOUR CHOICE
Oneida USA Distinction Deluxe RAPHAEL Stainless Silverware Flatware YOUR CHOICE
$3.89
Time Remaining: 49m
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COLLECTABLE SECTIONAL SILVERWARE 1900 1940 FLATWARE SETS SILVER PLATE
COLLECTABLE SECTIONAL SILVERWARE 1900 1940 FLATWARE SETS SILVER PLATE
$99.99
Time Remaining: 53m
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81pc 12Pl 1957 LILAC TIME 1881 Rogers Silverplate Flatware Chest Silverware Set
81pc 12Pl 1957 LILAC TIME 1881 Rogers Silverplate Flatware Chest Silverware Set
$69.95 (1 Bid)
Time Remaining: 54m
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Bonny Walt Disney Pluto Dog Youth Spoon Stainless Flatware Silverware Kids
Bonny Walt Disney Pluto Dog Youth Spoon Stainless Flatware Silverware Kids
$7.50 (1 Bid)
Time Remaining: 54m
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LOT OF 38 ORLEANS SILVERWARE PRYTANIA STAINLESS SILVERWARE SET FLATWARE FLORAL
LOT OF 38 ORLEANS SILVERWARE PRYTANIA STAINLESS SILVERWARE SET FLATWARE FLORAL
$12.00
Time Remaining: 54m
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Oneida Arbor Rose True Rose Dinner Knife Stainless Flatware Silverware
Oneida Arbor Rose True Rose Dinner Knife Stainless Flatware Silverware
$2.19
Time Remaining: 56m
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Reed Barton Palladian Teaspoon Stainless Flatware Silverware
Reed Barton Palladian Teaspoon Stainless Flatware Silverware
$8.95
Time Remaining: 58m
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1932 ART DECO LADY HAMILTON SALAD OR DESSERT FORKS ELEGANTLY ORNATE SILVERWARE
1932 ART DECO LADY HAMILTON SALAD OR DESSERT FORKS ELEGANTLY ORNATE SILVERWARE
$8.99 (1 Bid)
Time Remaining: 58m
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VINTAGE GROUPING OF CAMELIA 1940 PATTERN SILVERWARE CRAFTS OR COLLECTING
VINTAGE GROUPING OF CAMELIA 1940 PATTERN SILVERWARE CRAFTS OR COLLECTING
$11.99 (1 Bid)
Time Remaining: 58m
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Mikasa Classico SATIN Cold Meat Serving Fork Stainless Flatware Silverware
Mikasa Classico SATIN Cold Meat Serving Fork Stainless Flatware Silverware
$7.95
Time Remaining: 59m
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Oneida Strathmore Seafood Cocktail Fork Deluxe Stainless Flatware Silverware
Oneida Strathmore Seafood Cocktail Fork Deluxe Stainless Flatware Silverware
$4.95
Time Remaining: 1h 1m
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20 PC Flatware Set Silverware Knife Spoon Fork Dinner Kitchen MULTI COLOR
20 PC Flatware Set Silverware Knife Spoon Fork Dinner Kitchen MULTI COLOR
$30.95
Time Remaining: 1h 2m
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STERLING SILVER DECORATIVE SOUP PUNCH LADLE FLATWARE SILVERWARE
STERLING SILVER DECORATIVE SOUP PUNCH LADLE FLATWARE SILVERWARE
$220.00
Time Remaining: 1h 2m
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Ekco Country Garden Pierced Serving Spoon 2 Hole Stainless Flatware Silverware
Ekco Country Garden Pierced Serving Spoon 2 Hole Stainless Flatware Silverware
$3.95
Time Remaining: 1h 4m
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Gourmet Settings Exotique Platinum Oval Soup Spoon Stainless Flatware Silverware
Gourmet Settings Exotique Platinum Oval Soup Spoon Stainless Flatware Silverware
$3.95
Time Remaining: 1h 8m
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Oneida Melissa Solid Serving Spoon Stainless Flatware Silverware Burnished Handl
Oneida Melissa Solid Serving Spoon Stainless Flatware Silverware Burnished Handl
$3.95
Time Remaining: 1h 8m
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VINTAGE MUFFINEER SET BY STACHAN PRODUCTIONS SHEFFIED REPRODUCTIONS SILVERWARE
VINTAGE MUFFINEER SET BY STACHAN PRODUCTIONS SHEFFIED REPRODUCTIONS SILVERWARE
$19.99
Time Remaining: 1h 9m
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J A Henckels Earl Cold Meat Serving Fork Stainless Flatware Silverware
J A Henckels Earl Cold Meat Serving Fork Stainless Flatware Silverware
$4.95
Time Remaining: 1h 10m
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Vintage WINTHROP Silver Plated Silverware Flatware Craft Pie Cake Servers
Vintage WINTHROP Silver Plated Silverware Flatware Craft Pie Cake Servers
$3.99
Time Remaining: 1h 11m
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Heavy Bistro 20pc Forged 18 8 Stainless Steel Silverware Flatware Set
Heavy Bistro 20pc Forged 18 8 Stainless Steel Silverware Flatware Set
$46.99
Time Remaining: 1h 12m
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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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