Delight your guests with the discreet luxury of silver cutlery?

silverware cutlery houseware Cutlery & Houseware

Buyers’ Guide : silverware (Cutlery & Housewares)

Solid silver cutlery brings discreet and elegant luxury to a table. Your guests will notice how carefully you receive them. Complete set.

Intimate birthday, family meal, engagement, wedding, baptism, etc., solid silver cutlery of high quality. Offer your guests a service of an exceptional quality, perfectly adapted for a quality meal.

Intimate birthday, family meal, engagement, wedding, baptism, etc., solid silver cutlery of high quality. Offer your guests a service of an exceptional quality, perfectly adapted for a quality meal.

Sell well, buy well : our advice !

Solid silver contemporary cutlery

Solid silver contemporary cutlery.

Silver cutlery brings elegance and refinement to your table. It emphasizes with discretion and valorizes your decor.

Antique or contemporary, the brilliance of this noble metal brings a luxury that knows how to remain sober but is very present.

In addition, silver cutlery is of very good quality.

The metal is smooth to the touch, heavy in the hand and gives an impression of robustness. It is ergonomic in shape.

Old silverware also brings the charm of its history.

Solid silver or plated?

Cutlery (knives, tablespoons, dessert spoons and forks) in silver plated metal

Cutlery (knives, tablespoons, dessert spoons and forks) in silver plated metal.

Solid silver cutlery is obviously top quality. Even if the silver has blackened over time, it is very easy to restore its original brilliance.

On the other hand, the silver plated variety can often be worn in certain areas of contact.

For example: the teeth of the forks and the cutting edge of the knives.

Little by little, this wear will cause the disappearance of the thin layer of silver and reveal the base metal.

But this happens over time and for occasional use, plated silverware can remain attractive for many years.

Silverware in the dishwasher!

The silverware goes into the dishwasher

The silverware goes into the dishwasher.

Contrary to a widespread idea, silver cutlery can go in the dishwasher!

The only precaution is to not mix it with other metals.

Therefore, place them in a separate basket (or if you want maximum safety, wash them separately or with glasses and plates which don’t have metallic elements).

Easy maintenance

Cutlery in solid silver

Cutlery in solid silver.

Contrary to what one has been led to think, silver cutlery is easy to maintain.

First, it can be used regularly, even for several months, just by washing it normally after use. On the other hand, as for any dishes, it is necessary to clean the pieces quickly after use and not half a day later or the following day.

On the other hand, it is important that the silverware not be in prolonged contact with vinegar or eggs, as these two foods tend to blacken them.

To clean silver easily and restore its luster, bistro paste is an interesting product.

It should be noted that for old silverware, a patina can be created over time. This gives it charm.

However, in the case of solid silver, of course, a good cleaning will restore its shine.

But purists will be very reluctant to face this eventuality.

Vermeil silverware

Ercuis Cutlery in vermeil

Ercuis Cutlery in vermeil.

An exceptional type of silverware exists called vermeil silver.

Produced in very small quantities, vermeil cutlery is very difficult to find.

The vermeil is not a metal in itself, but silver plated gold; it is the best plated that exists.

Either the fork or the knife is entirely in vermeil, or only part of it.

These services are beautiful and bring refinement and class to the table.

Your guests will not only be delighted, but also surprised and touched by such a welcome.

Gold plated silverware

Gold plated cutlery

Gold plated cutlery.

Gold plated cutlery also exists; the latter can be of good quality.

It is very pretty and may be an option to consider because its price is not very high and it looks like the real thing.

But, unlike solid silver or vermeil, care must be taken not to use it too often, because the gold layer will tend to fade due to wear.

Before purchase, look at the hallmarks

Poinçons sur un couteau en argent

Poinçons sur un couteau en argent.

Solid silver cutlery must have official hallmarks.

The most widespread in France is the Minerva head. But it is not the only one, because solid silver cutlery produced abroad (or in France but after the middle of the 19th century) have different hallmarks.

For this, we invite you to consult our encyclopedia of official hallmarks.

Filled silver pieces and their hallmarks

Hallmarks on a silver knife

Hallmarks on a silver knife.

To understand the word “filling” which may seem surprising for neophytes, it is necessary to know that until the beginning of the 20th century it was permitted to fill the cutlery with certain substances.

If, in our time, this would be considered counterfeiting, at that time it was not. It was simply a legally recognized manufacturing technique.

So, such cutlery can have a completely official stamp without being solid silver in the sense that it is “not hollow”.

This technique only affects the cutlery handles and not the useful parts (such as the cutting edge or fork teeth).

These objects are recognizable because their handle is generally round and quite thick.

These handles are slightly more flexible than if they were made of solid silver.

It should be noted that this technique gives you a much better quality than silver plated. Indeed, the silver shell of the handle is relatively thick.

On the other hand, they can break.

To evaluate the cutlery (or service)


Oxidized silverware

Oxidized silverware.

If the first thing to check is the hallmark, it is worth paying attention to the quality of the objects.

Indeed, if they have pronounced wear (scratching, dents, etc.), this will influence the value.

On solid silver cutlery, scratches are not usually permanent because the metal can be polished.

In contrast, with silver plated, a scratch cannot be repaired (except by applying a new layer of precious metal).

On the other hand, if there is wear at the contact points (fork teeth or cutting edge of a knife) and it is really visible, for example there is a lack of metal, the value of a solid piece of silverware will be strongly affected (this is also the case if a piece of cutlery is broken).

Armorial bearings or signs

Hallmarks and names on silverware

Hallmarks and names on silverware.

A small point to consider, but not negligible, is the presence of coats of arms. These can give extra value to your cutlery, especially if it concerns a famous family or a reputable establishment.

Moreover, the name of the goldsmith who made the article can greatly influence its value, especially if he is famous.

The number of pieces

Silverware: the importance of the number of pieces.

Silverware: the importance of the number of pieces.

Obviously, mismatched cutlery is generally less valuable than if the set is complete.

However, some very rare pieces can be prized by collectors.

It should be known that a set of silverware usually is comprised of 36 pieces:

  • 12 forks
  • 12 large spoons
  • 12 small spoons
  • ( Sometimes a serving utensil can be present, such as a ladle)

Large sets of silverware :

Generally made up of from 70 to 100 pieces, they can sometimes include even more pieces, like 200.

Such sets can be very valuable. On the one hand, because they are difficult to find complete and on the other hand, because they may have been owned by a famous family (even if they are regional dignitaries (probably less known than the family of a prince)).

In addition to the usual elements, they may contain:

  • Forks and spoons for desserts
  • Small and large knives
  • Different serving utensils

The storage case

The importance of a silverware case

The importance of a silverware case.

This may be surprising, but the case in which the cutlery is stored is important too.

If it is original and in good condition, it adds undeniable value to a silverware set.

Guaranteed value

The value of solid silver cutlery

The value of solid silver cutlery.

Solid silver cutlery will retain at least the value of the silver by weight, regardless of its condition.

On the other hand, the silverware will not be worth much, even if it is in good condition (except for a limited series made by a famous goldsmith).

Some famous goldsmiths

The goldsmiths renowned for silver cutlery

The goldsmiths renowned for silver cutlery.

Important: some make cutlery and complete silverware sets both in solid silver and in plated silver. So be very careful before buying.

  • Odiot
  • Ercuis
  • Puiforcat
  • Christofle

Cutlery and silverware: knives, forks, spoons, ladles, serving utensils, etc.

Silverware: knives, forks, spoons, etc.

Silverware: knives, forks, spoons, etc.

This category is reserved for cutlery (knife, fork, spoon, etc.), serving utensils (ladle, fork and serving knife, spatulas, tongs, etc.) Quickly find something to liven up your table and make it unique. Collectible items, both ancient or more contemporary, stand out, delight your guests and make for an exceptional table. Objects made by renowned creators, or even more confidential ones, give you pleasure. Dare to be different or follow the trend, according to your mood or your taste.

Hints for buyers

Do not forget to ask the seller as much as possible about the characteristics of the object you would like to buy. If necessary, do not hesitate to ask for additional information by e-mail. If you are dealing with a professional, check his SIREN number (indicated on his site) and the date of creation of his company as well as his legal status with specialized websites (for example Infogreffe, in France or the equivalent in other countries.

Hints to sellers

Collectors or professionals: present your objects to a clientele in search of quality products. Show your items with bright photos on the site and be precise when writing your ad (object in solid silver or plated, purity of the precious metal, weight of the object, presence of hallmarks. with a picture), etc. If relevant, tell its story. Of course, if the object is composed of several pieces, do not forget to indicate the number.

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