All about Silver Plated Cutlery

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Flatware or cutlery is a generic term which is used to describe forks, knives, spoons and other utensils generally used by people to serve food and also eat it.  Silver plating is usually done on flatware made of steel or copper to make it look more exotic and upscale.  Most people invest in such cutlery as they cannot afford to buy real silverware.  Silver plated cutlery was first made available on the market in the mid of the 19th century as a lower price alternative to the pure sterling flatware.

What to expect:

Unlike sterling silverware, silver plated cutlery doesn’t have much market value.  It offers value to collectors as long as the silver plating is fairly intact and important to those who are missing pieces in their flatware sets.  There are over 2000 patterns available on the market and cutlery made by some manufacturers has more value because of good quality.

Caring for the silver plated cutlery:

Buyers should be aware that silver plated flatware, just like sterling silver is subject to discoloration and black tarnish from elements in the atmosphere.  Silver stored in damp containers and conditions will more than likely develop green deposits which will corrode the plating as well as the base metal.  There are a few things a person can do in order to keep their silver ware looking good for a long time. Here are a few of the many caring tips –

  • If the pieces have a yellow or gold tinge, they just need a bit of polishing.  When piece lose their finish or start looking quite tarnished, professional intervention is needed.  Re-plating may also need to be done and this can be very expensive.  To avoid the expense of repairing, a little care goes a long way in preserving one’s good silverware.
  • Polishing is the quickest way to spruce up looks.  The general recommendation from experts is to rinse each item in hot water so that dust is completely removed from surfaces.  While the item is still warm, whether it is a spoon or fork, a moist, foamy sponge with silver polish should be used to spread the cream completely.  Gently rub the cream in and ensure that the tarnished areas are clean again.  The piece has to be washed with mild dish detergent and rinsed in warm water.  As a final step, dry it with a soft towel so that all the water is removed.
  • Tarnish dips are not a good idea for pieces with intricate work and forks as well.  Dips have been known to leave a yellowish residue on pieces.  If one’s silver ware needs repairs, it pays to look for reputable companies which do repair work.  They are usually able to remove dents, replace missing and bent parts as well as do a new coating of silver plating to make pieces look brand new.
  • It is always a good idea to store silver ware in specially coated flannel bags as they will help to retard the tarnishing process.  These are available in department and jewelry stores where china is sold.  One can also find boxes with special linings to store all of the flatware in one place.
  • Make sure that silver plated cutlery doesn’t come much into contact with foods which contain sulphur.  Some examples are eggs, Brussels sprouts, mustard and mayonnaise.  In case this happens, gently clean and rub items with a cleaning cloth or cream.
  • It is also a good idea not to use rubber bands to keep silver plated items together. Scouring pads are abrasive and should ideally not be used to clean such delicate items.

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