Online Encyclopedia of Silver Marks, Hallmarks & Maker's Marks

Caring for your Silver
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Set your table daily with silver flatware, it will last forever! Frequent use actually reduces tarnish and develops a glow called patina, which enhances its beauty. Remember to rotate the pieces you use so the patina develops evenly across different pieces of your set.

Silverware should be rinsed immediately after use, especially after contact with any acidic or corrosive foods such as salt, mayonnaise or eggs.

Don't soak silverware in water overnight. Extended immersion can damage the metal.

Always wash pieces separately to avoid bumping and scratching. Wash silverware in hot, sudsy water, then rinse in clear, hot water. Clean crevices with a worn toothbrush or fine natural-bristle brush. To avoid spotting, immediately dry the pieces with a chamois or soft cotton cloth.

Although silverware is considered dishwasher safe, hot temperatures can loosen hollow handles or dissolve a decorative, oxidized pattern. Keep detergent to a minimum and remove silverware from the dishwasher before the drying cycle. Never put stainless steel and silverware in the same basket; direct contact can permanently damage silver.

Polish silverware with a soft cotton or flannel cloth and a brand name liquid or paste silver polish to remove tarnish. Dip polishes are not suggested on intricately detailed pieces; it will remove an oxidized pattern as well as tarnish. Rub each piece lengthwise; never polish clockwise or with a circular motion as this may cause scratches. If you use your silverware regularly, expect to polish it just once or twice a year.

Avoid wrapping silverware in plastic, aluminum foil or newspaper, or binding flatware with rubber bands, which can result in damage.

Keep all silverware away from dampness and direct sunlight. Even a light bulb that shines directly on silverware will cause it to tarnish faster than it will in a dark, dry place.

Store silverware in an air tight silver chest or protective bags made of tarnish proof cloth. To prevent scratching, do not store silverware loose in drawers. Do not use a drawer that is opened frequently--exposure to air promotes tarnishing. Avoid storing silverware directly on wood surfaces (especially oak), as wood often contains acids that can mar the finish.

Hint: Create your own silver drawer with a length of tarnish proof fabric. Line any drawer with the cloth, allowing plenty of overhang. Place a cutlery rack inside the drawer. Line the dividers with silver cloth, lay silverware in place, then fold the extra length of cloth over the top.


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