We know it’s tempting, but resisting the urge to bulk up on the cheapest utensils you can find at your local grocery or big-box store will pay off in the long run. After all, a drawer full of bent spoons from digging into ice cream doesn’t lie. You might be thinking, “Why should I spend more money on buying flatware when I can just buy a giant box for a fraction of the cost? Isn’t a spoon just a spoon, and a fork just a fork?” Simply put, no. Not all flatware is created equal.
The Three Types of Flatware
When you mention flatware, there are 3 main types: sterling silver, silverplate, and stainless steel.
- Sterling silver is the cream of the crop and also the most expensive because it is made of real silver combined with an alloy such as nickel or copper. Unlike popular misconceptions, it does not need to be ‘saved’ only for special occasions; the more you use it the less often you have to polish it. It can be passed down as an heirloom and lasts forever (if properly cared for). It also holds its value if you ever want to sell it.
- Silverplate has coats of silver over a less expensive metal; most commonly copper, brass, white metal, or nickel. While it does not have the same lifespan, it has the lustre of real sterling silver and is far less expensive.
- Stainless steel is the most popular option today as it requires little to no maintenance, is more economical compared to sterling silver and can last a lifetime. However, if you want to avoid bent spoons and forks, its best to learn a bit more.
Stainless Steel Explained
You might notice on the package that there are numbers such as 18/10 or 18/8. This refers to the level of chromium and nickel, respectively. The higher the level of nickel, the more resistant it is to rusting or corrosion. So 18/10 is a slightly higher quality than 18/8. Nickel also adds shine, and makes a sturdier fork or spoon. Since nickel is an expensive metal, you can expect a slightly higher price tag.
If you ever see flatware that is labelled 18/0 – run for your life! It is just a rust bucket disguised as flatware. If you stick with 18/10 or 18/8 stainless steel, you don’t need to polish it.
To preserve your stainless steel flatware, rinse immediately after using (especially after eating foods that are salty or acidic in nature). If you have the time, hand washing flatware helps to preserve its lustre.
Another benefit of investing in your flatware is that you can easily buy replacements. Missing a dinner fork or spoon? No problem. If however you buy a big box of questionable-quality flatware, the pattern is often discontinued after a short time leaving you stranded with a mishmash of cutlery.
Grace your table with these beautiful flatware items:
SHOP THE ITEMS:
1. Reed & Barton Falmouth One Drawer Flatware Chest
Store your flatware (up to 24 place settings) in this beautiful espresso chest with nickel handles.
2. Flame 20 Piece Cutlery Set
For an elegant, yet modern look, you can’t go wrong with this Flame collection.
3. Villeroy & Boch Mademoiselle 64 Piece Cutlery Set
If classic is more your speed, check out V & B’s lovely beaded design.
4. Splendide Marana Stainless Steel 20 Piece Flatware Set
This mirror-finish streamlined set is sure to add some sparkle to your dinner table.
5. Nambé Butterfly 5 Piece Cutlery Set
Set your dinner table with this gorgeous cutlery set that is unique and ergonomic — innovative design at its best.
6. Crocodile Stainless Steel Salad Servers
Go wild with this fun crocodile-inspired salad serving set.
Ambiente 20 Piece Cutlery Set
For an elegant and refined table setting, get yourself the Ambiente 20 piece cutlery set. Contemporary and featuring nice classic lines, this 18/10 stainless steel set will suit every occasion. Ambiente cutlery has also a good weight and comfortable feel.