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LET’S TALK ABOUT SILVER

What is Sterling Silver?

What is sterling silver? Sterling silver is an alloy of silver containing 92.5% by mass of silver and 7.5% by mass of other metals, usually copper. The sterling silver standard has a minimum millesimal fineness of 925.

Fine silver, for example 99.9% pure silver, is generally too soft for producing functional objects; therefore, the silver is usually alloyed with copper to give it strength while preserving the ductility and beauty of the precious metal.

Other metals can replace the copper, usually with the intention of improving various properties of the basic sterling alloy such as reducing casting porosity, eliminating fire scale, and increasing resistance to tarnish. These replacement metals include germanium, zinc and platinum, as well as a variety of other additives, including silicon and boron.

A number of alloys, such as Argentine sterling silver, have appeared in recent years, formulated to lessen fire scale or to inhibit tarnish, and this has sparked heavy competition among the various manufacturers, who are rushing to make claims of having the best formulation. However, no one alloy has emerged to replace copper as the industry standard, and alloy development is a very active area.

Sterling silver trademark How can you tell if your silver is Sterling?

Sterling made in the USA after approximately 1850 always has a sterling mark.  It may literally have the word STERLING and/or say .925, or show the fraction 925/1000.  If it does not have this mark then it is likely not sterling, unless it is made outside of the United States and has other hallmarks that designate its silver content.   It can also be tested with an acid to determine its content.  This should only be done by a professional.

History of Sterling Silver

The process of extracting and refining silver dates from the third millennium BC, and the metal was well represented in the wealth of Mesopotamia, Babylon, Egypt, classical Greece and ancient Rome. Silver’s unique properties have made it a wonderful medium for the decorative arts, and its intrinsic value as a precious metal has made it the ultimate and everlasting recyclable. As fashion changed over the decades and centuries, silver has been melted and reshaped into new forms, and in times of economic crisis, for individuals and nations, it has been converted into coin. Its reflective qualities have made it an ideal material for the display of power, wealth or reverence, in palaces, cathedrals, temples and the great houses of Asia, Europe and the Americas.

History of sterling silver It was during the Renaissance that silver began to become important for display: An impressive show of silver objects was a telling measure of a person’s wealth and social standing. In the English court, New Year’s gifts of silver were customarily exchanged, and silver was of foremost importance for state occasions. At the same time, silver was the preferred material for the wealthiest aristocratic and merchant classes. The social, rather than the economic, aspects of silver were taking shape.

Etruscan spoons dating from 700 BC are not unlike the ones we use today, and knives were always present at the table, but it was in 16th century Italy that forks began to replace fingers for conveying food to the mouth. As the fork’s popularity spread to France, great changes in manners began. Foods that had previously been eaten by dipping fingers or bread into a common bowl came to be eaten with spoons and forks from individual plates, and by the late 1600’s there existed different plates for different foods. Further, individual chairs replaced benches at the table. This revolution, of sorts, greatly affected the silversmiths’ output, and before the close of the 17th century silversmiths found themselves making large matching services for their wealthy patrons. It was the beginning of table silver as we know it today.

In the 18th century silver more and more became the tangible evidence of wealth, and men and women carried their hard-earned and carefully hoarded coins to the silversmith to be made into usable objects. These pieces retained their intrinsic value while being used for celebrations, daily routines or mere display. It is from the American colonies that we get the term American Coin Silver. Although this phrase is commonly linked to simple pointed-end, round-end or fiddle-back spoons, early American silversmiths were, like their English and European counterparts, producing church silver, tankards, beakers, tea sets and tea caddies, trays and salvers, porringers, braziers, candlesticks, etc. The word coin as it pertains to these articles of American silver mainly defines the source of the raw material: Until the 19th century, coins provided the silver makers of nearly all countries with raw material when bullion was scarce, but since silver was not mined commercially in the United States until the 1850’s, coins were the American silversmith’s major resource.

History of sterling teas set At the beginning of the 19th century, silver services were comparatively simple. However, rising middle and merchant classes on both sides of the Atlantic, as well rich industrialists in the United States, created a great demand for silver objects. The urge to display affluence, along with impetus given by exhibitions in 1851 and 1862, led not only to more ornate styles but a wide range of new serving and individual pieces. This Victorian explosion of tableware seems to have begun simply enough, with the fashion for separate fish knives. Followed, of course by the addition of the fish fork. By the 1870’s, dinner consisted of from five to eighteen courses, and, as one etiquette book stated, the guest could expect “a bewildering array of glass goblets, wine and champagne glasses, numerous forks, knives and spoons.”

Silver manufacturers were soon trying to outdo one another, with one American maker offering 20 different types of individual place setting spoons, 12 different forks and ten different knives. In addition to individual dinner forks, medium forks, dessert forks, fish forks, oyster forks, lobster forks, terrapin forks, salad forks, berry forks, pie forks, fruit forks and ice cream forks, there were specialized forks for serving beef, sardines, bread, olives, asparagus, pickles, etc. The list of specialized forks, spoons, flat servers and knives is almost endless, and reflects, in part, the spiritual need of Victorians to demonstrate the superiority of Man over all other creatures.

Nineteenth-century silver manufacturers had placed great emphasis on industrialization and modern manufacturing techniques, but the early years of the 20th century saw a move to widen the gulf between artist and industrialist. The Arts & Crafts Movement, which saw its beginnings in Europe and spread quickly across the Atlantic, put emphasis on the individual craftsman. The movement saw the important role that craft can play in the “humanizing” of society. The workers in this tradition have aspired to lofty goals, taking the silversmith back to role of artisan. The period between the World Wars brought about great stylistic changes, with the introduction of “Modernism”, later termed the “Art Deco” style. As we begin the 21st century, these objects too are finding their place in museums and private collections.

Though we may lament that much old silver has been lost to the whims of fashion or the loss of fortune, we must also remember that the nineteenth century saw a taste for collecting antique silver: Pieces once melted and refashioned began to be collected for their aesthetic appeal. The same period saw a burgeoning spirit of inquiry and research, and as the 19th century gave way to the 20th, scholarly publications and exhibitions brought new information, and exciting pieces of silver, to light. Silver has a past, a present and a future, and, in many ways, it lives in all three.

Joseph P. Brady
Silver Historian

Types of Silver

STERLING SILVER An alloy of 92.5 %  (.925) silver and 7.5% (.075) copper also shown as 925/1000 (92 1/2%) fine silver and 75/1000 (7 1/2%) copper. This proportion is fixed by law

COIN SILVER Before 1966, U. S. silver coins contained 90% Silver and 10% copper or 900/1000

MEXICAN SILVER This is the name given to the silver used by many Mexican and American Indians Craftsmen. Its silver content is generally above 90%.

FINE SILVER Commercially pure silver contains no alloy, or .999% fine Silver

SILVER PLATED Made by electroplating fine silver on base metal alloy-usually nickel silver or Britannia metal, sometimes brass or copper. This was perfected for industrial purposes in the mid 1800's. Electroplating is the process of using electrical current to coat an electrically conductive object with a relatively thin layer of metal.

SHEFFIELD PLATE Originally was made by bonding sheet silver to copper, the rolling and manufacturing into hollowware. The original process was abandoned in the mid nineteenth century due to the introduction of electroplating. Imitations are made by electroplating silver on copper and are sometime mis-advertised as Sheffield plate.

Modern Uses

Modern Uses for Silver Sterling silver use is not just limited to a formal dinner or a fancy gathering. There is no need to be afraid of your silver, so go ahead and take it out of hiding. You could and should use your sterling every day! Sterling is both attractive and functional, adding a touch of elegance to your day to day living.

Sterling can be used for all occasions, and is recommended to be used daily. Sterling silver flatware is dishwasher safe (if manufactured after 1950) and easy to keep clean. Everyday use keeps the silver shiny and tarnish-free.

Sterling can be used anywhere in the house, and not just for display. Use your silver for functional purposes--- from dresser jars, pin trays and sterling cups in the bathroom, to sterling vases, boxes, candlesticks, and bowls in the living/dining room.

Adding a touch of silver can make any room sparkle. You can add a simple yet sophisticated detail to any dinner or room thanks to sterling's versatility.

Don't let your good sterling stay hidden in a cabinet, unused and ignored. Let it have some fresh air! Enjoy your sterling silver year round and add that extra dash of style to every room in the house.

Modern Use #1: Julep Cups

Modern Uses for Silver In the South, there is a time-honored tradition that is best enjoyed under the very wide brim of an elaborately decorated hat: The Kentucky Derby. As you watch the majestic thoroughbreds race round the track, there is no better way to cool yourself off than with a refreshing Mint Julep, better yet served in a sterling silver julep cup. The sweet bite of bourbon mixed with the fresh mint and all served ice cold is the perfect palate quencher to tackle that deep south heat. As the official libation of the Derby, one must familiarize themselves with its sweet southern charms.

Modern Uses for Silver Early American silver smiths and Kentucky natives, Asa Blanchard and William and Archibald Cooper are responsible for the appearance of the julep cup design we use today. The opulence of a sterling silver julep cup goes beyond the racetrack for southern residents. We raise our cups high in celebration of our roots and traditions. Sterling silver adds that extra extravagance to the experience and is the perfect vessel for a chilled mint julep. Whether you are watching from the benches of Churchill Downs, waving your winning ticket in the air, or sitting in the air conditioned confines of your parlor, make sure you have a Mint Julep waiting. Sit back, relax and take a sip of a little southern heritage.

Silver Julep cup borders

Above are two basic forms that the sterling silver julep takes, one with a banded border(figure 1) and the other with a beaded boarder (figure 2). Click on either and look at our selection of over 94 sterling silver juleps in 14 different forms.

Modern Use #2: Punchbowls, Water Pitchers & Trophies as Flower Vessels

Using a silver water pitcher as a vase The sterling water pitcher acts as a beautiful serving piece for your dinner table, yet can also serve as a modernly chic flower vase in your living area.

Caring for Sterling Silver

Use your sterling every day at every meal. Frequently used silver requires the least amount of care and special attention. Daily use is the best way to keep sterling bright and shiny. Don't save it for a special occasion. The finish of sterling silver actually improves with daily use, so enjoy using it regularly! With constant use, washing and handling, silver will develop tiny surface scratches (which are bound to occur) that give silver a "patina". This patina is characteristic of cherished old silverware. Rotate the use of all your pieces to create an even "patina" throughout your set.

Care is easy — here are some tips:

Washing

Silver in the dishwasher Washing silver immediately after use helps prevent tarnish. Tarnish is caused by sulfides from food, contact with rubber or smoke and gas in the air. If food is left on silver for periods as short as one hour, it can stain sterling. Be especially wary of foods such as mayonnaise, vinegar, and eggs. If you cannot wash your sterling immediately after use, rinse it thoroughly, but do not leave to soak.

Most sterling flatware, except for knives, may be placed in the dishwasher. For best results, remove flatware before the drying cycle begins and dry throughout with a soft, cotton cloth. When you use the dishwasher for cleaning, use a mild, non-citrus detergent, do not overcrowd the flatware baskets, and take care not to place sterling in direct contact with stainless steel. Do not dry on a high heat cycle.

If washing by hand, put a rubber mat or dishtowel in the bottom of the sink to prevent contact between the silver and any metals that are a part of the sink.

Use a soft cloth, mild detergent, and hot water to clean silver. Avoid all citrus detergents as they can cause rust spots on silver handles and blades. Never use abrasive pads or steel wool to remove debris.

Dry silver immediately after washing with a soft cloth to prevent water spots. Avoid placing silver on hot surfaces such as heating elements, or near open flames.

*About KNIFE BLADES
The blades of sterling silver place knives are made of a harden-able grade of stainless steel. This grade of stainless, while resistant to most foods or chemicals in the home, is subject to pitting under certain conditions. The conditions that most commonly cause pitting are long contact with chloride-containing foods such as salt, salad dressing, etc. OR soaking in water.

Prolonged soaking (i.e. overnight) in water must be avoided especially where several pieces may be in close contact during the soaking period. The “rinse and hold” cycle on an automatic dishwasher is particularly hard on cutlery because the pieces are warm and wet for an extended period of time. Best care for your cutlery is to wash and dry as soon as practical after using, either by hand or on a fast cycle in the dishwasher.

Polishing

Silver in the dishwasher For occasional beauty treatments, use a polish that is specified for sterling.

Before beginning, wash pieces per recommendations above to clean off all debris. For example- if you are trying to remove candle wax from candlesticks- simply run the soiled area under hot water. Remove wax with your fingers, and avoid using knife blades to remove wax.

Dry each piece thoroughly before you begin to polish.

Apply a top grade silver polish in a gentle, circular motion, using a soft cloth or sponge. Avoid using "dip" polish and electrolytic cleaners as they contain harsh chemicals. Also we do not recommend the home remedy of baking soda and tin foil.

Always follow manufacturer's instructions.

Wash and dry each piece thoroughly to remove any excess polish.

We offer professional sterling silver polishing services.

Storage

Silver in the dishwasher Keep your silver in a clean, dry place. For silver in daily use storage in a lined chest or drawer is sufficient protection. For pieces not in daily use, tarnish preventive bags or chests are recommended.

Do not wrap silver in plastic food wrap or use rubber bands to secure the silver as plastic wrap and rubber bands can permanently bond to and discolor sterling silver.

The same is true for salt when allowed to remain in contact with sterling. So remove salt from salt cellars and shakers between uses.

Setting the Table

Whether you are throwing a formal dinner party or inviting friends over for a cozy meal, proper tablesetting can be an entertaining nightmare! With over 100 flatware serving pieces to choose from, it's hard to know where to begin!

Helpful tip: Always start with the basic 5-pc place setting: teaspoon, place spoon, salad fork, place fork and place knife. Then, build from there. With fine sterling, acquiring the total number of 5-pc sets you desire may take time. Begin with four place settings and then build up to eight place settings, which is the most popular configuration.

Formal Setting
Formal Setting Don't just wait until holiday gatherings to use your sterling. Any time is a good time to use silver! Remember, a well laid table says "welcome" to both family members and guests. Today's entertaining has no limits and few boundaries ... so have some fun while entertaining. Pair a traditional pattern with china or a modern design with ornate dinnerware.

Informal Place Setting
Informal Setting You're serving Mac-n-cheese with your sterling silver?! Why not! Setting a pleasant informal table and serving food graciously can make even the simplest meal a fabulous experience! Find out more on how to create a dining experience that will make even hotdogs look good. 

Serving Piece Guide

The basic serving pieces include table spoons, butter knives, serving forks, gravy ladles, and sugar spoons.

Once you are all set with the basics, you can move onto buying the really fun-to-own serving accessories like cracker scoops and hooded asparagus servers! Looking for that special piece to complete your collection? Start shopping now by clicking on the category below, or use the search bar at the top of the page to search for a specific piece type. If you have any questions call one of our sterling silver experts at 800-270-4009.


Berry / Casserole

berries, casseroles, salads, fruits or vegetables

Master Butter Knife

butter pats, on a sandwich tray for cheeses, relishes
hollow handle

Sugar Spoon

sugar, jellies, jams and marmalade

Mustard Ladle

for hot mustard or horseradish

Gravy Ladle

for sauces, gravy and dressings

Pierced Table Spoon

used to serve juicy vegetables

Table Spoon

vegetables, fruits, puddings

Sugar Tongs

for sugar cubes, candy, ice cubes

Olive Fork

olives, pickles, also a butter pick and for hors d'oeurvres

Bon Bon / Nut Spoon

for candies, nuts and canapes'

Jelly Server

for jellies, jams, preserves, cream or cottage cheeses and relishes

Lemon Fork

for lemon, orange, lime slices, and hors d'oeurvres

Cream / Sauce Ladle

sauces, salad dressings, entrees and desserts

Cold Meat Fork

serves sliced meats, chops, cutlets

Pie / Cake Server

also serves molded salads, pizza slices, frozen desserts
hollow handle

Flat Server

fish, chops, tomatoes, desserts, pastries

Ice Cream Slicer

slices brick ice cream

Asparagus Server

asparagus or croquet

Hooded Asparagus Server

Macaroni Server

pasta, vegetables

Cheese Scoop

soft cheeses and spreads

Cracker Scoop

oyster crackers or ice shaves

Butter Pick

butter pats, brick cheese, pickles & olives

Tea Strainer

strain tea

Ice Tongs

ice cubes

Salad Tongs

salads, ice cubes

Carving Fork

large roasts, ham steaks, fowl, and other meats
hollow handle

Carving Knife

large roasts, ham, steaks, fowl, and other meats
hollow handle

Large Serving Fork

meats, fowl
hollow handle

Fish Serving Knife

fish, pies, pastries, also knife on cold meat or cheese platters
hollow handle

Cheese Serving Knife

for brick cheeses, sliced cheeses, pates
hollow handle

FAQs



Q: How do I identify the pattern and the maker of my silver?

A:
Over the years, some countries developed systems of hallmarking silver. The purpose of a manufacturer’s hallmark is three-fold:

  • To indicate the purity of the silver alloy used in the manufacture or hand-crafting of the piece.
  • To identify the silversmith or company that made the piece.
  • To note the date and/or location of the manufacture or tradesman.

View our guide to help you identify the most common manufacturers’ trademarks. Just click on the name of the manufacturer to see the patterns that they make. If you can’t identify your pattern with this tool, you can email a photo to ID@beverlybremer.com.

Please be sure to include all markings on the back of the piece for proper identification. We will identify your pattern and mail you our free inventory list.

Q: What is the size of sterling silver flatware: Luncheon, Place or Dinner?

A:
From the late 1800's through the mid 1900's silver manufacturers produced their silver patterns with two different sizes of knives and forks for a main course: luncheon, which was the smaller size, and dinner the larger size.  Many people had and used both sizes; luncheon size was used primarily for breakfast and lunch, while the dinner size was used for more formal dinners. Luncheon and dinner sizes remain the standard for English, American and continental makers to this day. A size called: “grill” or “viande” was popular for a short time around WWII.  The knives and forks are characterized with elongated handles and short knife blades and fork tines. 

During the late 1950s and early 1960s, many manufacturers introduced an entirely new size called the “place size”.  This size is commonly slightly larger than the luncheon size, but smaller than the dinner size.  Some renamed their smaller, luncheon size forks and changed only the style of the knife and began calling both the new place size.  To distinguish between the many pieces, the Gorham company often places a small

within a diamond on the back of the place forks as well as on the stainless steel blade of the place knife above the Gorham name. 

Place Fork and Place Knife pictured on the left. Luncheon Fork and Luncheon Knife French Blade on the right.

The many choices have confused consumers for the past fifty years.  You do not need to be confused!  You may determine the size of your set by measuring the knife and largest fork in your place setting.   Place the fork face down on a ruler for the most accurate measurement.  A luncheon fork measures between 6 7/8" and 7 1/4" whereas a dinner fork can measure between 7 1/2" and 8".  The place size fork measures between 7 1/4" and 7 3/8".  A luncheon knife measures 8 3/4" to 9" and a dinner knife between  9 5/8" and  10".  The place knife measures 9 1/8" to 9 1/4" in length.  

Q: What is Coin Silver?

A:
Coin Silver is a term used to describe American silver flatware and hollowware made before 1870 that is NOT Sterling. Coin Silver is 90% silver. The silver content is 2.5% less than Sterling and is the same composition as American coins made prior to 1964. Coin silver includes 10% copper.  

Silver then, as now, was a symbol of affluence. It was the product of skilled craftsmen who worked with precious metals. Precious and rare metals. For the early American Goldsmith or Silversmith, the titles were interchangeable until the mid 1800's, access to raw materials was a problem.   

Until the opening of the Comstock Lode in 1859 there were no silver mines in the United States of any significance. Before that nearly all silver in the US first came as either a finished product -- bowl, candlestick, spoon, or whatever -- or as a silver coin or bar. Most all silver imports were of European manufacture.  

Colonial currency was a hodgepodge of Pounds, Francs, and Pieces of Eight. The value of any given coin was determine by it's weight and silver or gold content.  

For the American silversmith to obtain raw materials he either had to purchase silver bars or melt silver coins. A silversmith with a rush order could, literally, reach into his pocket. And from that comes the generic term -- Coin Silver.  

Silversmiths would also buy silver items from the public. Most every silversmith's newspaper advertisement would also include an offer to buy.   

This partially explains the rarity of very early American silver. Many a spoon from the 1720's was melted down to become an 1820's spoon. Another reason that pre-1800 silver is rare is the fact that there were far fewer people and, of those, fewer still who could afford silver. As both population and wealth grew so did the demand for silver.  

Concurrent with US population growth came advances in technology. The 1780's brought a rolling machine for processing melt into sheets of silver. In 1801, Thomas Bruff of Chestertown, MD invented a spoon press. Hours previously spent on repetitious preparatory tasks could now be spent on ornamentation. Repoussed and Chased hollowware and patterned flatware began to replace the plain Federal styles.  

By 1855 Tiffany and Gorham were making exquisite silver and having difficulty selling it because: "It's not as good as English Silver"... and it wasn't. It was 90% silver. The English had been on the Sterling standard since the early 1300's. Their silver was 92.5%. It wasn't long before both Tiffany and Gorham were making Sterling silver.  

This, in turn, left Kirk, Wood & Hughes, William Gale & Son, and every other silversmith in America listening to: "Well, it's nice, but it's not as good as Tiffany or Gorham".  

By 1870 Sterling had all but replaced Coin Silver. The small, local silversmiths were replaced by jewelry shops and 'fancy goods' merchants. These shops sold sterling silver made in large, mostly Northern, factories.  

Perhaps because it is misunderstood, when compared to any other early Americana, Coin Silver remains a bargain. Certainly, important pieces by important silversmiths, such as Paul Revere, are bringing premium prices. But many beautiful pieces by lesser known, but equally skilled, smiths remain reasonably priced and available

Q: What is included in a hostess set?

A:
A Hostess set includes:
A Tablespoon
A Cold Meat Fork
A Pierced Table Serving Spoon
A Gravy Ladle
A Master Butter Knife
A Sugar Spoon

In addition to these pieces we have many other serving pieces to complement your set! See our serving guide to identify pieces.  

Q: How do I know if my silver is sterling or silver plate?

A:
If your silver is sterling, it will either be marked sterling or it will have a mark of 925/1000. This means that 925 parts for every 1000 are pure silver- the standard for sterling, by law, passed in 1909.

Q: What is chased silver?

A:
There are few techniques that offer such diversity of expression while still being relatively economical. Chasing is the opposite technique to repoussé, and the two are used in conjunction to create a finished piece. It is also known as embossing.

While repoussé is used to work on the reverse of the metal to form a raised design on the front, chasing is used to refine the design on the front of the work by sinking the metal. The term chasing is derived from the noun "chase", which refers to a groove, furrow, channel or indentation. The adjectival form is "chased work".

Q: How do you obtain your inventory?

A:
Beverly Bremer Silver Shop purchases the previously owned pieces from reputable suppliers nationwide including auctions, estate sales and individuals. All items are carefully inspected for the highest quality. New pieces are purchased directly from the manufacturer.

Q: How do I go about selling my silver?

A:
Find specific details about selling your sterling silver here.

Q: What makes silver tarnish?

A:
Chemically, silver is not very reactive—it does not react with oxygen or water at ordinary temperatures, so does not easily form a silver oxide. However, it is attacked by common components of atmospheric pollution, then silver sulfide slowly appears as a black tarnish.

As the purity of the silver decreases, the problem of corrosion or tarnishing increases because other metals in the alloy, usually copper, may react with oxygen in the air. Sodium chloride (NaCl) or common table salt is known to corrode silver-copper alloy, typically seen in silver salt shakers where corrosion appears around the holes in the top.

Several products have been developed for the purpose of polishing silver that serve to remove sulfur from the metal without damaging or warping it. Because harsh polishing and buffing can permanently damage and devalue a piece of antique silver, valuable items are typically hand-polished to preserve the unique patinas of older pieces. Techniques such as wheel polishing, which are typically performed by professional jewelers or silver repair companies, are reserved for extreme tarnish or corrosion.

Q: Can I put my sterling silver in the dishwasher?

A:
Sterling silver flatware may certainly go in your dishwasher.   We do recommend a few modifications to your typical washing procedures to make sure your silver stays as bright as the day you bought it:

  • Rinse your silver under the faucet before you put it in the flatware basket.  This removes remnant food particles (particularly damaging substances like vinegar, lemon, or salt!) from your pieces to prevent any marring prior to the wash cycle.
  • Keep your silver flatware separate from any stainless pieces as they can scratch your silver.
  • Use a SMALL AMOUNT of detergent–and one with no lemon or citrus additives.  Pre-measured tablets tend to have too much.  A tablespoon (not even filling the cup designated) is plenty to clean your silver and dishes, while not causing them to yellow.
  • You may leave your silver in the dishwasher to dry with its drying cycle.  Opinions differ on this, but it is safe to do so.
  • KNIVES: If your knives are old–pre-World War II– wash them by hand.  Knives are formed from two pieces, the silver hollow handle and a blade.  The heat from the dishwasher can melt the resin used in older knives to seal the two pieces, causing your knives to break apart.

If your silver is turning yellow… you could be using too much detergent.  The bleach in the detergent may cause the discoloration.  Polish your silver to remove the yellow coloring and use less detergent next time! So use your silver every day!  And let your dishwasher do the work for you.

Some manufacturers may recommend washing by hand; however, washing in the dishwasher is safe if you make sure to separate sterling and stainless items. Also, because of the acids, do not use a lemon detergent. Read more information on how to properly care for your sterling.

Q: Do I have luncheon or dinner size?

A:
A luncheon fork, although perfectly acceptable to use for dinner, is close to 7 inches and a luncheon knife close to 9 inches.

The dinner fork is close to 7 1/2 inches and the dinner knife close to 9 1/2 inches. In the 50's a new size was introduced. This is called place size.

We understand that this can become quite confusing! If you have any questions regarding your set, please call 404-261-4009 or 800-270-4009 or email us at sterlingsilver@beverlybremer.com and a member of Beverly's expert staff will be glad to assist you.

French, tapered or blunt blade Q: How can I tell if I have a tapered blade or a french blade?

A:
The tapered blade (B) tapers directly into the handle. Take your thumb and forefinger and run them up and down along where the blade and handle meet. If it is smooth on both sides, you have the tapered blade. If you feel a notch where the blade comes out of the handle at a right angle on one side, it is the french blade (A). Some knives have an extra bolster or a brushed finish and a rounded, blunt blade (C).

Q: How do I know if I have sterling or silverplate?

A:
If your silver is sterling, it will either be marked sterling or it will have a mark of 925/1000. This means that 925 parts for every 1000 are pure silver- the standard for sterling, by law, passed in 1909.

Q: How do I determine the value of my sterling?

A:
The best way to determine the value of your set is to have an appraisal by a licensed appraiser. In order to make an accurate assessment of its value, he will want to look and handle each piece. We do not appraise here; however, we can recommend an appraiser in the Atlanta area. To find one in your area, check your yellow pages or ask a local antique dealer.

Q: Is an appraised value different from an insurance replacement value?

A:
That depends! Many choose to schedule their sterling silver separately on an insurance policy. If you have a loss and replace your set new from a department store, it would cost more than replacing it with nearly new silver from Beverly Bremer Silver Shop. Therefore, some may choose to use our price list as a reference for insurance replacement purposes as opposed to using the retail value.

Q: Isn’t Sterling just for the dressiest occasions?

A:
Absolutely not! Sterling silver use is not just limited to a formal dinner or a fancy gathering. There is no need to be afraid of your silver, so go ahead and take it out of hiding. You could and should use your sterling every day! Sterling is both attractive and functional, adding a touch of elegance to your day to day living.

Q: What if I don’t have the time or energy to polish it regularly?

A:
Sterling can be used for all occasions, and is recommended to be used daily. Sterling silver flatware is dishwasher safe (if manufactured after 1950) and easy to keep clean. Everyday use keeps the silver shiny and tarnish-free. It can be used anywhere in the house, from dresser jars, pin trays and sterling cups in the bathroom, to sterling vases, boxes, candlesticks, and bowls in the living/dining room; you can keep your silver on display at all times. Adding a touch of silver can make any room sparkle. Simply keep it dusted to prevent tarnish.

Sterling highlights your home with classic beauty and modern elegance. You can add a simple yet sophisticated detail to any dinner or room thanks to sterling's versatility. There is always room for a touch of class. The sterling water pitcher acts as a beautiful serving piece for your dinner table, yet can also serve as a modernly chic flower vase in your living area.

Don't let your good sterling stay hidden in a cabinet, unused and ignored. Let it have some fresh air! Enjoy your sterling silver year round and add that extra dash of style to every room in the house.