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Sterling Silver ... Part Deux

Happy Thursday ... for each of you that are lovers of sterling silver, as I am, you are in for another treat and post from Nicole Letts. She did such an amazing job with the first post, which I knew she would, and this piece is just as amazing. The first post talked about why sterling silver is so collectible and desirable for every day use.  And yes, can you believe it goes in the dishwasher?  This post is a great resource for identifying all the amazing pieces in a collection.  

I am thrilled to be back at The Pink Clutch for my second installment of all things sterling silver. Many years ago, there was a piece of flatware for just about anything you can imagine, and since then, contemporary silversmiths have started making items such as asparagus servers and even ice cream scoops using sterling silver knife handles. While those modern pieces are easy to identify, you might find yourself holding 3 forks, each with various tines, and each with its own purpose. 

Sterling forks, for example, can come in various lengths to indicate the time of day at which they were to be used. A luncheon salad fork is 6¾ “ while a dinner salad fork is 7”. To confuse things even more, there is what’s known as “American size” versus “continental size.” The American size is slightly shorter and for more informal events. If you are beginning to build your own collection, know whether you have a luncheon or dinner set and an American or continental set. Otherwise, you will end-up with various mismatched forks. 

Other types of forks to be on the lookout for are serving forks. Common serving forks include:

Lemon forks (short with 3 tines)

Cocktail/seafood forks (slender with 3 tines). Trick: look for a “triton” shape to the tines to identify these because they are most often used with seafood! Triton is the Greek demigod of the sea. 

Strawberry forks (short with 2, elongated tines) 

Pickle/olive forks (short with 2 tines, curved outward) 

Cold meat fork (large and serving-sized with 4 tines)

Ice cream fork (looks like a Taco Bell spork!)

Like forks, spoons also have a long list of uses and types. The shape and size of the bowl of the spoon will greatly help you identify pieces. As with their fork cousins, spoons are also found in various sizes, depending on their use. The most common spoon is known as the “place” spoon, and is “all-purpose.” It’s most similar to today’s tea spoon (not an ice tea spoon which is different, of course!). 

Other types of spoons to be on the lookout for:

Bouillon spoons (Used for broth-based soup, and not to be confused with a cream soup spoon which has a bigger, more elongated bowl. P.S. a cream soup spoon shouldn't go into your mouth; instead, the soup is sipped from its side). 

Demitasse spoons (Used for coffee/espresso, petite, around 4” long) 

Bon Bon servers (Sometimes flat, sometimes curved, these are small, dainty spoons used for serving dessert! They also often have intricate metal work.)

Condiment spoons (short with a long handle and a petite bowl)

Salt spoons (easily identified as the tiniest spoon you’ve ever seen) 

I could go on and on and on, but I think that spoons and forks cover the most ground. 

Because sterling was manufactured by various makers, the above should serve as a guideline. If you are ever curious about identifying a piece, turn to your local silver store! I also highly suggest investing in two books: 

Encyclopedia of American Silver Manufacturers

Sterling Silver Flatware for Dining Elegance 

I’ll be back soon for my final sterling silver installment which will cover my top 10 sterling pieces to have in your collection. I am so excited to share that with you! 

Anyone else adding certain spoons and forks to their wish list? For me it would be a strawberry fork for sure!  Nicole is an amazing writer and my go to for sterling silver questions, I hope you loved this post as much as I do!

Happy Thursday ... 

First image via Eddie Ross Modern Mix
Remainder of  images via Replacements (a great resource for adding to your pieces)

1 comment:

  1. I am interested in the brand name of dishwasher gels/pods you can safely use for silver in your dishwasher.



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