No matter whether you call it flatware, cutlery, or silverware, one thing we can agree on is that it’s all gorgeous. No?  If you are starting an antique flatware collection {or are already in the deep end with your antique silver obsession} here is a small guide to antique silver flatware.

There are so many interesting and fun pieces to collect!  Antique silver is never boring. Each has it’s own job to do….but is very happy to be used in multiple ways these days!







Every single piece of “silver” flatware contains some percentage of silver. Sterling, coin silver, silver plated and hotel silver…all of them have some silver.











STERLING: Sterling pieces are required to be at least 92.5% silver and are easy to recognize by their marking of 925 or higher or the word “sterling” stamped into the piece.


COIN SILVER: The oldest kind of American silver, coin silver should be at least 90% silver.  American colonist melted down European coins to re-cast into serving pieces and flatware, because they did not want to use British imported silver. Coin silver pieces are typically heavier than sterling, and often have the word “coin” stamped on the back or side.


HOTEL SILVER: Meant to endure service in a hotel or restaurant, hotel silver is made by layering a thick coat of silver over copper or brass. Hotel silver usually has some pitting from use, and a slightly mat appearance that sterling, coin or plated silver.


SILVER PLATE:  Made by an electroplating process developed in the 19th century, silver plated flatware has all the beauty of sterling, but at a much more attractive price point. The base is usually nickel, then plated with a thin layer of pure silver.  Knives made before the 1920’s will have a plated blade, also. After that date, the blade will be stainless steel, which keeps the blade from rusting.






I was thrilled to be quoted in this month’s Southern Lady magazine about Silver Bride’s Baskets.I hope you will enjoy the article if you subscribe to Southern Lady,  I can’t wait to see the issue!






SHOP SILVER- Begin your antique silver collection>





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