Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Silverplate vs. Sterling Silver

What is the advantage (if any) over silverplated flatware vs. sterling flatware, other than the difference in price? Will silverplated flatware last longer than sterling flatware? What should I look for in selecting silverplated and/or sterling flatware? How should I care for each? If my silver comes from England, how can I tell if it is sterling?

Silverplated is either pure but usually sterling silver plated over a base metal.

Sterling silver is .925 silver with a .075 additive, usually copper. Sterling made in the USA after approximately the 1850's always has a sterling mark. It may say Sterling. It may be.925 or show the fraction 925/1000. If it does not have this mark it is not sterling. It can also be tested with an acid to determine its content. This should only be done by a professional.

Sterling silver always retains it intrinsic silver value & usually a value also as tableware. Silverplate has no intrinsic silver value. It is not
worth the refining costs to try to redeem the silver. It has very little resale value as tableware.

Sterling will last forever if you want to use it and take care of it. Most Silverplate will last approximately 20 years or less depending on use with the proper care.

When buying either your sterling or silverplated pattern, choose a pattern because you like it. Choose something that will last over the changing eras of your life. When choosing your china, crystal & silverware, choose something that compliments each other. But most of all, you are the one that you have to please. So choose what you like.

English sterling silver is marked with a series of four or five small hallmarks. The standing lion with his right front paw raised (The lion passant ) is the most commonly seen sterling quality mark. The other marks indicate the city of origin, the maker, and the year of manufacture. Some of the marks will include the face of the monarch.

See our selections of Sterling Silver Jewelry at our Mall Store here:

Pictured above: Sterling Silver screwback vintage earrings.

Coming Soon to our ChShops Mall Store: Sterling Silver and Silver Plate flatware.


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