Hide the Silver!
Silver cutlery and dishes were once coveted and included in the home for their beauty, usefulness and of course, as a status symbol. But they also represented a practical investment.
Cutlery and dishes were a needed item, and silver was durable, long-lasting, could be traded, pawned, handed down to the next generation; and at the end of the day ... sold to be melted down and re-used. Hence the saying "Hide the silver!" when someone was expected to visit the household with whom you weren't acquainted; or had reason to be suspicious of their poor character. It is also why many buffets and china cabinets had locks. Real silver is often very heavy and is hallmarked with various numbers and symbols which are helpful in tracing their age, place of origin and value.
Affordable Silver Plate
Silver plate became popular as a cost-effective alternative to silver and made it more widely available for the common public to attain. It is physically lighter than solid silver (though can be heavy if it has an encased lead plug for weight and stability). Silver plate items range from unmarked to marked with country of origin, a declaration of lead mounts/plug and can also be hallmarked or include the company name. I am not an expert, but to the best of my knowledge the lead content is not considered dangerous as it is not exposed at all. The lead is a contained "plug" fully encased within the item (usually within copper with the silver plate over top).
I have found multiples uses for vintage silver plate other than serving food anyway. A few are shown here ... and I keep finding more inspiration with each piece I add! You can polish away the tarnish, which looks nice in the shabby chic, romantic home ... or leave the patina for the more eclectic, bohemian, dark or magically witchy home.
Meadow Sweet Grove © V. Buchanan, 2022
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