What to Look For in a Set of Silverware

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Silverware, also known as flatware or cutlery, refers to the forks, spoons and knives that you use at your dinner table. While it is often used to describe silver-plated utensils, you can still find great sets of silverware that don’t contain any actual silver at all. In fact, you can even buy real silver flatware, but you’ll want to make sure that you know what to look for in a quality set of stainless steel or silver-plated flatware before making your purchase. The most common type of flatware is made from stainless steel, which is an affordable, durable and aesthetically appealing metal. You can easily find a set of stainless steel flatware that will match your existing china patterns and be suitable for everyday use. The best stainless steel flatware has a modern, clean, classic design that looks good with most any style of china. If you have a more eclectic style, you can choose from a wide range of other flatware designs, including colorfully patterned or even funky metallic finishes. Stainless steel flatware is typically sold in five- or 20-piece sets, which are sufficient for one or four place settings. Most standard boxed sets include a salad fork, dinner fork, soup spoon and knife. Other pieces, such as pierced forks, butter knives and cake servers, are usually sold separately. In addition to stainless steel, some sets of flatware are made from sterling silver, which is more expensive but has a more traditional and elegant look. You can easily tell whether your flatware is sterling by checking the box or product description for a hallmark that indicates it is genuine silver. Look for the words “sterling” or for a stamped icon that looks like a lion passant, anchor or G. Other markings that indicate sterling silver, such as the name of a company or the word “sterling” in a script font, may not be authentic. When selecting the right silverware, you’ll need to decide what kind of layout you prefer on your plate. Most people prefer a uniform, clean, streamlined look that is easy to keep sanitary. You’ll want to avoid a layout that features too many different utensils, which can create an overwhelming visual impact on your plate and lead to confusion when it comes time to pick up a piece of silverware. Most types of flatware can be safely washed in the dishwasher. For best results, wash your silverware immediately after each use and dry them thoroughly. It’s a good idea to avoid using harsh detergents that can scratch or dull the surface, and you should never use steel wool or steel brushes on your flatware as these can nick the surface and cause corrosion or rust. In addition, you should avoid using abrasive cleaners or sponges on your stainless steel, as these can strip the color. If you’re using a colored-plated flatware, such as matte black or gold, you should be especially careful not to use any abrasive cleaning products on them. כלי כסף

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