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Flatware vs Silverware

flatware vs silverware differences

It's normal to be confused and to not know the differences between silverware and flatware. However, each has a specific feature that makes it unique.

We will clarify what exactly the differences are between silverware and flatware.


What Is Flatware?

Generally, forks, knives and spoons fall under the name flatware, while any utensil or product that is made out of sterling silver or silver-plated silver can be categorized under silverware.

Flatware can be categorized into silverware as most flatware sets are made of silver.

The difference is that the name flatware is used to categorize the type of cutlery while the name silverware is used to categorize the material.

Recommended: The Best Flatware Sets


What Is Silverware?

Silverware is more than just cutlery. Normally, most products found in households are made of silver, For instance, plates made out of silver are counted as silverware. However, silver plates are not flatware as it is not cutlery.

Recommended: The Best Silverware Sets


Flatware and Silverware: Differences

Flatware and silverware come from various types of utensils available on the market and the names we give them.

Flatware is part of tableware which is being used to set up a dinner-table. The word flatware is mostly used in the USA while the term cutlery is generally being used outside the USA. 

Flatware is every cutlery that is surrounding the plate on the table; It's the knife, fork, spoon and many other cutlery that is provided in the table setup.

You need to know that flatware can be silverware but not all silverware can be flatware.

In the end, the difference between flatware and silverware just comes down to the usage and the material being used.

Silver is often used in utensils because silver is known to have properties that fight off bacteria.

Silver is also known to be a generally soft metal. This is why despite its name, it is made up of just 92 percent silver mixed with other metals to make the silverware more durable.



Stainless Steel vs Sterling Silver

Although both sterling silver and stainless steel are alloy metals (Alloy Metals: a combination of many other metals), the difference can still impact your decision when making a choice which one fits you better. 

In terms of longer lifespan and durability, stainless steel with its combination of different metals is able to withstand the constant wear and tear of being used daily. 

Moreover, adding different metals also enables it to be corrosion and scratch-resistant, allowing you to use it for different cases and on a daily basis with no worries about its appearance. 

However, if you’re looking for something that’s a bit more elegant and is shapable enough to be used for various complex designs, especially for silverware, then sterling silver is the better option.

Stainless steel is more heavy compared to sterling silver. As sterling silver is a relatively rare metal, it has more value than stainless steal.


Recommended: The Different Stainless Steel Grades Explained


As sterling silver is a "soft" metal, it is very easy to damage any sterling silver cutlery and scratches are very common.

In conclusion, stainless steel offers a longer lifespan and more durability compared to sterling silver thanks to the resistance to corrosion and scratches. Especially for flatware, stainless steel is perfect. 

If you want something that weighs less and experience a great dining evening for both you and your guests, sterling silver is the perfect choice for you. 


Pros & Cons of Sterling Silver and Stainless Steel 


Advantages of Sterling Silver 

  • Precious metal¬†
  • More versatility and¬†shapability¬†
  • Allows for complex designs¬†
  • Easy to clean
  • Easy to repair


Disadvantages of Sterling Silver 

  • Attracts scratches like a magnet
  • Prone to corrosion
  • Higher cost than stainless steel¬†


Advantages of Stainless Steel 

  • Resistant to corrosion¬†
  • Hard Material
  • Higher¬†durability¬†
  • Resistant to scratches¬†
  • Shines better than sterling silver
  • Versatile¬†
  • Cheaper compared to sterling silver
  • Can be used every day
  • Easy cleaning¬†


Disadvantages of Stainless Steel 

  • Hard to repair
  • In rare cases, triggers allergic reactions



    Silver-Plated and Sterling Silver Cutlery: Differences

    It is important to know whether what you buy is real sterling silver cutlery or silver-plated cutlery. You can usually tell from the marks. The numbers stamped or hallmarked help you to find out about the silver coating or the silver content. 

    Real sterling silver cutlery can be stamped with 925 (925 of 1000 parts are pure silver). But also 835, 820 and 625 hallmarks indicate real silver cutlery.

    With silver-plated cutlery you will find 90 or 100 marks. These hallmarks indicate the thickness of the silver that was applied to the cutlery with the help of electroplating processes.

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