Sterling Silver Flatware Guide… Part 2

A few more hints about buying silver…

What affects the price of the piece I’m buying?
-Pattern: Certain patterns are worth more than others, despite the weight in Troy ounces being the same.
-Piece: Forks are worth more than teaspoons. Knives are usually worth less, and it’s because most are hollow.
-Sets: Sets go for more.
-Monograms: These go for less.
-Condition: this is obvious. Things in good condition go for more.

Other tips:

  • be wary of buying tarnished silver as it can hide obvious damage.
  • avoid pieces with a white appearance. It was most likely over cleaned with harsh chemicals.
  • Areas most susceptible to damage are rims and joints with handles, spouts, and feet.
  • When buying a set, look out for “marriages”.  This is when two or more pieces are combined to make a better set.  They can be really hard to catch sometimes, so be careful!
  • Be wary of modified items: sometimes spoons are cut to resemble a sugar spoon, or may have been pierced to look like a sifter.
  • The best way to care for silver is to use it.  Gentle hand wash it. 
  • Remember silver is a good conductor, so placing a silver serving spoon in a bowl of hot soup for a few minutes can make the spoon very hot. You have been warned.
  • Assume that if you are looking at vintage or antique silver and it does not have a sterling mark, it is silver plate.
  • Buy from reputable dealers to avoid forgery and fakes.  For deals, search eBay but be careful who you buy from.  

My #1 tip is: Buy something you love.  If you buy something that was a good bargain but you don’t really love it, you aren’t going to use it. So it’s just going to sit in the drawer.  So you shouldn’t have bought it in the first place.

My Favorite Sterling Silver Patterns!
I have been searching all over the internet trying to find patterns that I really like.  There are a ton of retired patterns that you are still able to purchase through eBay and other antique dealers.  I am sure there are more that will catch my eye, but I’ve narrowed the list down (but the list is still long).

If you missed the first part of my guide about sterling silver flatware (which contains info about what sterling silver is, how to care for it, etc…) click here.

Here we go! (In order of… most simple to most ornate)

“Malmaison” by Christofle. source: Christofle website

“Marly” by Christofle source: Christofle website

This happens to be my stainless pattern, so I wouldn’t want the same in sterling… but I still like it!

Couzon “Consul”  source: bloomingdale’s
“Williamsburg Shell” by Kirk Steiff
“Empire” by Ercuis
“Empire” by Gebrueder Reiner. source: arts table
“Ludwig XVI” by Koch and Bergfeld source: art’s table 
“Strassburger Empire” by Wilkens source: arts table

“Marie Antoinette” by Alvin source:
“Empire” by Buccelati source:
“Moilere Mascaron”by Emile Puiforcat source: puiforcat website
“Elysees by Puiforcat” source: puiforcat website
Audubon by Tiffany
“Royal” by Puiforcat source: puiforcat website
“Mascarons” by Puiforcat sourcE:
“Renaissance” by Tiffany  source:
“Paris” by Gorham source: replacements ltd.
“Versailles” by Gorham source: rubylane

You may have noticed that I’m a little bit schizophrenic on my patterns.  They are either pretty simple or over-the-top.

Here’s why:  I think there’s a lot of elegance with the more simple patterns, however, if you’re going to eat with sterling silver, which I feel is a bit over-the-top anyway, then maybe you should be eating with an over-the-top fork!

What do you think? What one is your favorite?  Or is your favorite not listed?

I think my favorite is the Tiffany “Renaissance” pattern. A girl can dream!

I’m providing a link to a website that has a really nice overview of many patterns.  Check it out to see a whole bunch of patterns quickly!

Be Sure to check out part 1 of my Sterling Silver Guide!

Note: I am not a silver expert. I am just someone who is writing about silver for a fun hobby. You need to perform your own research before you go about buying silver.

I’ve linked up with:The Scoop! at Confessions of a Plate Addict/Stone Gable, Inspire Me Tuesday at a Stroll Thru Life, Do Tell Tuesday at a Vintage Zest,  You’re Going to Love it Tuesday at Kathe with an E,Wow us Wednesdays! at Savvy Southern Style, What’s it Wednesdays at Ivy & Elephants,  Treasure Hunt Thursday at From My Front Porch To Yours, Feathered Nest Fridays at French Country Cottage, Sunday Best Showcase at Twigg Studios. Be sure to check out all of these fabulous blogging parties! A big thank you to all of the wonderful hosts!

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  1. May 28, 2014 / 3:19 am

    I really enjoyed seeing all your favorites. Many of these I have never seen, so you have shown me something new. At my age I doubt I will be acquiring another pattern, but I still like the one I chose many years ago — Rondo by Gorham. I will be reading your blog from now on — come see me sometime.

    • May 28, 2014 / 5:10 pm

      Who says you can only have one silver pattern? I looked at Rondo… it is quite like Strasbourg but less foo-foo. It looks good! Hopefully you are using it instead of having it stored away! Thanks for stopping by!