Silver makes me swoon! It's beautiful reflective shine.The weight of it in my hand.  The refined  and formal feelings it evokes. Polishing away tarnish to reveal that unmistakable luster. Silver is jewelry for a table. And I love jewelry!

But not all silver is the same. And that is wonderful news. I have recently been treasure hunting in antique shops and flea markets and have found beautiful silver pieces at very reasonable prices...

This lovely Rogers Silverplate Coffee and Tea service was probably never used. It still has the label stickers on the bottom of each piece.

The detail on the handles, lids and little feet make this set so interesting.

Many of us use silver on special ocasions only and then back in the cupboard or basement it goes until the next wedding, or milestone birthday. Even worse some of us love silver but don't have any at all because we think it costs too much or is too hard to maintain.

Oh, not so!!!!

I love to use and display my silver everyday.  I received this beautiful silver champagne bucket as a wedding gift. I keep an orchid in it and it decorates my foyer. In this picture it is sitting on my buffet in the dining room.

The orchids are real! When they drop I replace them with a good faux spray of orchids. I also arrange  thin  branches in the pot for added interest.  Moss hides the clay pot the orchid is in and the dirt.

This tray was found at a local antique shop where I am beginning to be a frequent visitor. The Barn in Strasburg, Pa houses many good quality dealers. Esther,the owner, should be proud of her establishment. Notice the price on this tray.

I thought this was a marvelous price for a large silverplate tray. It was quite tarnished in some areas. But... a little silver polish and a lot of elbow grease ...

I was originally getting it to paint the center with chalkboard paint and use it on my buffet to write a menu on it. But onced polished, it is such a beauty that I am keeping it just like it is. I'm continuing my search for a chalkboard  worthy tray.

This little silver vase was a gift from a friend. It is perfect for holding little flowers and greens. When my children were small, this silver vase held many a dandelion!

I have many silver pieces I treasure. A very few pricey, some reasonable but most downright inexpensive (I'd say cheap, but after all, we are talking about silver).

Most of my silver is not sterling silver but silverplate. A very respectable alternative.  Silverplate is a thin layer of silver over a base metal. Sterling silver is 92.5 % silver and the rest is copper or another metal. Silverplate can be just as beautiful and ornate as real sterling silver.

I use silver flatware and serving pieces right along with my stainless. These are just a few of the serving pieces I have. All of these were recently purchased for $2.00 a piece. They just needed someone to give them a good polish, and a loving home.

The fun of collecting, for me, is finding different patterns of the same utensil. For example, I am wild about sugar spoons. They don't need to be used for sugar. Use them to stir coffee or tea. Wouldn't it look pretty to rest differnt silver spoons on everyones saucers?

I am now on the lookout for butter knives. I am using this same idea with bread plates.

Siver pieces are often Monogrammed. I can scarsely pass up  monogrammed flatware. There is something so romantic about caring for a piece so much that you put your initials on it. It tells a story of belonging.  It almost personifies a piece.

When the price is right ,especially if bears a three letter monogram it comes home with me!

So, don't wait until Aunt Audrey's 80th birthday to take out your silver. Find interesting ways to use it and enjoy it during your everyday life!

If you don't have any silver, you are missing an inexpensive luxury! Treat yourself to a sugar spoon. That's how I started!

Tips for Care of  Silverplate:
To clean: use a gentle SILVER cleaner. The multi-metal cleaners are too harsh. Silverplate can be rubbed off with harsh cleansers.
Never use lemon based dish detergent. Wash with warm sudsy water and dry thoroughly.
Never put silverplate in the dishwasher.
If you are going to use your silver for display only, you can slow down the tarnishing by applying a thin coat of Turtle Wax for cars, and buff to a shine.
If you store your silver,  cover it with a silver cloth or a clean cloth and store in air tight plastic bags. Do not let the silver directly touch bag.
Never use a toothbrush in the  ornate crevices of a silver piece. It will scratch the silver. Use a horsehair brush.
When displaying silver in a china cupboard buy anti-tarnish strips to keep silver free of tarnish for a longer time.


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