How to care for SILVER

Amongst my very most favorite things…..Silver!! I love it, and can spy a good piece from miles away. {good meaning unusual, Victorian, monogrammed, in fabulous condition, or just the opposite, slightly dinged, worn and dark with years of patina}

Not just for Sundays or Holidays….try using your old pieces at home right now with a collection of shells. This Victorian elevated Cake Basket is perfect for that. It has boats engraved in the bottom.

And a gorgeous detail on the very top of the handle!

The Antique and Vintage Silver Covered Bowls are great. They have a handle on the top that “twists” off. How happy would your Brocoli be served up in this? I love the beaded detailing on this English Server.

Sadly, those twist off handles are amongst the most stolen items from Antique Stores.

Delicious! No other word for it. Sugar Nips. Love the word, even.

Another Vintage Server, this time in a more subdued, Art Deco 1920’s styling. The handle twist off, just like one above, so that you can use this as a double dish, also for easier storage.

Antique Ornate Asparagus Tongs. Sigh. Those were the days. A Silver implement for everything. And a bunch of servants to polish, too.

Antique Silver Spoons named after Madame Jumel. {Madame Jumel was from an impoverished Rhode Island family, she vowed to escape her pitiful circumstances. She married Stephen Jumel, a wealthy French wine merchant. They spent several years in France, in the elite circle around Napoleon’s court. They returned to the United States in 1828 to settle in the mansion. Inspired by cutting-edge French fashion, Madame Jumel bought new furniture and redecorated her home in the elegant Empire style. The home which she and her husband purchased in Manhattan is now a museum known as the Morris-Jumel Mansion.}

I love this piece. It’s a quirky server, for Rolls or Scones. It’s shallow. And topped by an impossibly high cover in relationship to the bottom. Fun.

If I had a “James” I would want him to serve my scones on this, and bow and at the same time sweep that cover off. See the little floral urn on the top? genius. In my next life, I might want to be a silver designer.

Parting shot. So many beautiful silver designs for flatware. so many. At our house, we mix and match with abandon. Do the same….you can find a few pieces at fleamarkets, antique shops and thriftstores and grow an inexpensive collection.

** In answer to your emailed and posted questions:
1. Tarnishing is something that is bound to happen. The best defense against it is to 1. polish your silver with care. and 2. use it regularly! It also matters where you store the silver. Humidity is the main culprit that causes pieces to tarnish. Special anti-tarnish papers and cloths containing activated carbon or silver salts are great, you can put them in display cases too, since they are tiny and won’t be seen.
You can buy them from jewelers or department and specialty stores where new silver pieces are sold. There are also special anti-tarnish bags you can buy to place individual pieces inside. You’ll probably still have to do a little polishing here and there when you take the pieces out to use them. There are lots of different ways that you can remove tarnish, I generally prefer Hagerty Cream, you can often buy it in the grocery store.
2. You most likely won’t find Sterling pieces in a thriftstore, since there are often a whole group of people who come every day to look for “gems” but you may be lucky! But I have seen plenty of it at fleamarkets, antique stores etc. Most American pieces will have the mark STERLING on them, sometimes for older pieces 925. Other countries have different marks, you can google sterling marks and do some research on those.

If you want to romance your Home and Garden with antique and vintage treasures to make you smile each time you come home, visit our shop FrenchGardenHouse.

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