Saturday, March 14, 2009

Vintage Silver: Is It Worth the Trouble?

Style Court reports on the use of silver coffee and tea services in the 21st century.
Many people receive beautiful old silver from a grandmother or great-aunt but rarely use it because it seems like a huge hassle or feels too fussy. However, since everyone is eating-in these days, it could be fun to put the vintage pieces to use....

BTW: Vogue’s Book of Etiquette, 1969, encouraged young brides to acquire sterling silver and use it frequently. “The service of afternoon tea is based on one major premise—the hostess must pour the tea herself. Whether it is made in the kitchen and brought in the pot or if a more elaborate procedure with a kettle and tea caddy is followed, the hostess must pour the tea from the pot to the cup.”


Carol Bory said...

Using silver is definitely worth the extra effort! It adds a texture and brilliance to the table. Silverplate is ideal for adding a splash to the serveware.

elena maria vidal said...

I agree, Carol! Thank you for stopping by!

tubbs said...

here's a comment from a fifty-something dude about silver.
When not in the mood for vodka, I'll make a pot of tea for the late afternoon/evening. When my parents retired to Florida, I inherited the silver tea service. (no other siblings wanted it--too much hassle to polish) So this dust collector sat in the hutch for ages 'til one day, on a fluke, I decided to make a pot in it. Here's what I discovered.
(A) it's insolated, so it holds the tea hot, or you can place it on a tea-candle trivet.
(B) it's spout is so well designed that not one single drop drivels down the side.
(C) the handle has either bone or ivory "O"rings insulating it at either end---so you don't burn your hands handling it.
(D) the lid is hinged on with a jewelery-like locket hinge. its perfectly fitted, perfectly tight.

I'm amazed at the way form and function were so well combined in this antique design. The only drawbacks are( A)it's a pain to have to keep polished, and (B)sterling dents easily.

elena maria vidal said...

I agree with all you say. And the polishing can be a pain.

The North Coast said...

Ran across this great post on your blog and have to comment.

I absolutely LOVE my sterling flatware and use it every chance I get. However, I'm happy with good plate for the tea and coffee service, because fully-loaded sterling tea and coffee pots are just too heavy for me to lift, in addition to being too expensive.

Note the differences in various types of silver plate. The best is from the Victorian Era or before- good heavy plate on etched copper. The latter-day plate is brass with thinner silver plating on which the ornamentation is etched, and it wears more quickly.

Aron said...

Actually, I enjoy polishing mine very much indeed. The only frustrating thing about mine is that there are a few spots (of tarnish?) that just refuse to come off no matter what I do. I also enjoy using mine whenever I have an excuse. I had some friends over for a (friendly) poker night recently and one of the wives came as well. Since she likes iced tea, I polished the silver tea-pot and served it to her in that, with a chilled glass. It was a "hoot" and she was very impressed. :)
~Aron <><

elena maria vidal said...


The North Coast said...

My sterling flatware is one of my most precious possessions and I use it every chance I get. It acquires a fine sheen with use and never wears out.

However, I also prefer the plate coffee and tea service because the sterling pots are just too heavy even if I could afford them. Once had a wealthy friend whose parents acquired a vast array of sterling silver pieces with the old mansion they bought. The immense coffee and tea service, dating from 1885 when the house had 8 servants, was so heavy that I could scarcely lift the pots even empty. The tray and pieces, fully loaded with liquids, would be impossible for even two women to lift, and required two strong men to serve the coffee and tea.