What to Look for in Sterling Silver Flatware

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A quality sterling silverware set can become a wonderful family heirloom and make a statement at holiday celebrations, but you want to be sure you stick to these expert tips before choosing to ensure it’s the best fit. 

Look for Silver Quantity

One of the first things you may notice on a silverware piece is the numbering. Sterling silver has a silver content of 92.5 percent and a 7.5 percent content of nickel and/or copper. Why? Completely pure silver items can actually be too soft and malleable, making it very easy to damage or even misshapen during use. By adding other metals to the mix the pieces can last for much longer, making them even more valuable. 

To see what number your silverware has, check for the stamp located on the stem or base of the item. If you see the word sterling, it may also mean that the product is made with this concentration of silver, copper, and nickel. 

If you still aren’t sure, because the pieces are antique or come from another country, ask an expert to help test the piece and determine its metal quantities. They will be able to perform an acid test to help determine the percentage of each metal in your pieces. 

Make Sure It’s Substantially Weighted

The weight of your pieces is also highly influential when calculating its overall value. If you have the opportunity, hold each piece in your hand and see how it feels. It should be only slightly heavy and very sturdy. 

Each utensil should balance elegantly in your hands as you use them. Imagine you are at a celebration with your loved ones, how would you feel eating soup, cutting meats, and grabbing bits of salad as you used these pieces? Avoid anything that feels hollow or overly weighted, as they will create an awkward feel while eating. 

Find a Pattern That Appeals to You

If you’re planning on keeping the set a long time, you want to choose something that appeals to your tastes. Many people may think of sterling silver sets as too traditional, but there are many modern and unique pattern options to really set your tableware apart. 

Also keep in mind your dishes and other decor elements so everything remains cohesive. The most popular choices are ornate, modern, baguette, and shell. Each has its variations to suit any home aesthetic! 

Choose a Reputable Designer/Manufacturer

If you want to ensure your set is of the highest quality, buy from the most trusted companies like Gorham, Christofle, Reed & Barton, Towle, and Wallace. Each of these enterprises have been in business for a long time and are recognized for their consistency and world-class materials. Their pieces will also come with a warranty in case you find any defaults or need repairs.

If you’re not sure where to start, you can begin by browsing at Silver Superstore. We have been silver experts since 1996 and regularly supply well-priced and high-quality pieces available in every pattern.