Flatware, more commonly referred to as silverware, are pieces that go well with Crystal and fine China on any dining table setup. Being able to select the right flatware could be overwhelming as there are a lot of different products out on the market. One would have to choose from the various patterns, materials, and price ranges. Here are some ways to determine the quality of flatware when purchasing.
- The first step in judging the quality of flatware is to determine the kind of metal used in the products. Good quality flatware should be constructed of the best metals. These could be stainless steel, silver plated, or sterling silver. Stainless steel is most commonly used for flatware. It is a combination of nickel, chromium, steel, and other metals. Silver plated flatware is made of a combination of metals coated in silver. Keep in mind that this silver coating may wear off over time. Sterling silver is an alloy made with steel and silver. It weighs more than the others, and is very sturdy.
- Check the grade of the metals used in producing it. Usually the packaging would indicate this as a fraction: 18/8, 18/10, 18/0. The percentage of chromium used in it is usually indicated by the first number. The percentage of nickel used would be the second number. Chrome gives the flatware its properties of being stain, rust, and corrosion resistant. Nickel helps to give it more durability and provides it with a better finish. This means that higher levels of both metals would be more ideal in terms of the quality of the flatware. These would usually be those that are graded 18/8 and 18/10.
- Take a look at the gauge of the flatware. The gauge measures the thickness of the steel used as a raw material for the product. This is presented in millimeters between 1- 4 or more. This would also reflect in the actual weight of the product. Good quality flatware would be heavier and would have a relatively thick gauge.
- Next step would be to gauge how comfortable the product feels in your hand. Good quality flatware does not necessarily have to be really heavy. Hollow flatware is usually easier to balance when handling. This is important as these should feel comfortable and easy to use. They should not be cumbersome so as not to degrade the dining experience.
- Feel the edges of the flatware. Good quality flatware should feel smooth and reflect a well polished finish. Inspect carefully in between the tines of the forks as these should be uniform with the rest of the piece’s finish. Notice these small imperfections as they are a good indicator of the flatware’s quality.
- Choose knives that are made with forged blades. These would have better quality as they do not scratch the finish off the plates unlike serrated knives. This should also be considered to protect the plates the flatware would be used on.
By being able to judge the quality of the flatware seen in the market, one would be able to choose the right set for their needs. Keep in mind that when choosing the right flatware it is important that the products should be comfortable to handle and have a fitting design for the rest of the pieces on your dining table setup.