Dining as an Art: Caring for Your Silver Collection

3 minute read

This incredible English King flatware service by Tiffany & Co. comprises 664 impeccable pieces This incredible English King flatware service by Tiffany & Co. comprises 664 impeccable pieces

Since its inception in 1837, silver flatware by Tiffany & Co. has brought a touch of luxury to dining rooms in a manner of unparalleled craftsmanship and elegance. Synonymous with timeless style, the Tiffany & Co. Silver Company began retailing silverware at the onset of an era of rapid wealth expansion in America. This new wealth, coupled with discoveries of vast silver deposits in the West, spurred an entirely new way of living and socializing for the upper classes. Social calendars of the elite were now filled with evening gatherings, dinner parties, and highly exclusive social events. The new sumptuous tastes were on full display, and extensive silver flatware sets and centerpieces served as a visual affirmation of economic prosperity and affluence. Tiffany designed large flatware sets, comprised of utensils for serving and consuming nearly every food imaginable, to accompany the glittering and extravagant dinner parties of the age. An art all their own, today these sets are prized not just for their opulence, but also their remarkably quality and craftsmanship.

Tiffany began to gain international recognition abroad as the breadth of their output grew in the late 19th century. At the 1878 Paris World’s Fair under the directly of John C. Moore, Tiffany became the first American firm to earn the Grand Prize for Excellence in silver. The spotlight soon became a familiar place for Tiffany. By creating some of the grandest flatware sets imaginable, Tiffany led the way as the unchallenged master of the silver craft in the United States. Yet, it was not just international acclaim that brought Tiffany its fame, but a sterling reputation for high quality flatware and exquisite designs.

664 Tiffany English King drawerRegarded as extraordinary treasures of American silver today, Tiffany pieces – along with other quality silver – do require periodic maintenance and proper storage. When owning a large flatware set such as this Tiffany English King flatware set, consider the array of pieces the require care. From gilt salad servers and grapefruit spoons to terrapin knives and nut picks, all 664 utensils in this set require some upkeep to fully appreciate the intricacy of the renowned English King design. Simple, habitual care for your flatware set is the most efficient way to keep your silver in pristine condition.

The first step in caring for your antique silver flatware is keeping the natural tarnishing processes of silver at bay. Though it is the most common way your silver loses its shine, tarnish is one of the easiest things to treat and remove. Caused by exposure to air, more tarnish occurs in damper environments, so keeping you silver properly stored in a dry environment is the best way to avoid tarnishing. Yet, if it does occur use a soft cloth and polish to restore shine to your silver. When choosing a polish, pay close attention to the techniques and directions for each one. Creams, for example, take at least an hour to dry. If using a cream on a piece with an intricate design such as the English King, be sure to remove all excess polish in the swirling low reliefs of the pattern on each utensil.

Introduced in 1885, English King is among Tiffany's most prized and beautiful patterns Introduced in 1885, English King is among Tiffany's most prized and beautiful patterns

Cotton wadding is also a convenient and effective way to remove tarnish. Pre-treat your cotton with silver cleaner and simply buff the surface of your flatware with the wadding. This technique proves highly effective for engraved and chased silver pieces with various intricacies. If short on time, a simple silver cloth will easily remove any finger prints and smudges while enhancing the shine. After properly cleaning, store your silver in lined cabinets or treated cloth.

The Tiffany legacy and their classic designs have stood the test of time - with a little care and attention, so too can your prized silver pieces.

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