You adorn your body with jewelry and your house with accessories, but what about your poor dining table? Doesnt it deserve some of that decoration too? Sure, youve got a wide array of china plates and crystal glasses, but you wont really be able to show off their attributes without the complementary flatware.
Typically, flatware comes in three main categories: traditional, ornate and contemporary.
Youll need to determine which category your china and crystal fall into before you go shopping for appropriate flatware.
Your best bet is to stay within a particular style.
If youve got ornate china then choose an ornate flatware set.
It can work in rare cases but usually mixing styles just ends up looking confused.
Most families have at least two sets of flatware; one for everyday use, and one for formal occasions.
Your best choice for everyday dining is stainless steel, as it retains its shine for many years of daily use.
This is due to a mixture of steel, nickel and chromium, which gives stainless steel flatware its very durable finish.
However, nothing says elegance and formality quite like a sterling silver flatware set.
Sterling silver is almost pure silver and must carry the word sterling stamped on the back to guarantee authenticity.
It must contain approximately 92.5% pure silver with 7.5% of an alloy for strength.
Sterling silver flatware is, of course, much more expensive than stainless steel flatware, but it is well worth the price.
Both stainless steel flatware and sterling silver flatware will require some care to retain their shine.
Stainless steel items can be washed either by hand or in a dishwasher, but should immediately be dried.
Sterling silver flatware, on the other hand, should always be hand washed in warm, soapy water, rinsed in clear, hot water and dried immediately to prevent the occurrence of water spots.
Furthermore, stainless steel and sterling silver flatware should never be left in direct contact as this can damage the silver.
Whether you choose to go with a stainless steel or sterling silver flatware set, you should always remember that the key element of your collection is the four-piece place setting.
This includes the place fork, place knife, salad fork and teaspoon.
Of course, youll want some other pieces as well, but these are your foundation flatware pieces so you should fully investigate the look and feel of each set.
And, dont be afraid to use your flatware.
Thats what its there for; even if it is that pricey sterling silver flatware set youve had your eye on for ages.