Household silver

A silver dinner service

Household silver or silverware (the silver, the plate, or silver service) includes tableware, cutlery and other household items made of sterling silver, Britannia silver or Sheffield plate silver. Silver is sometimes bought in sets or combined to form sets, such as a set of silver candlesticks or a silver tea set.

Historically, silverware was divided into table silver, for eating, and dressing silver for bedrooms and dressing rooms. The grandest form of the latter was the toilet service, typically of 10-30 pieces, often silver-gilt, which was especially a feature of the period from 1650 to about 1780.

Silver requires a good deal of care, as it tarnishes and must be hand polished, since careless or machine polishing ruins the patina and can completely erode the silver layer in Sheffield plate.

A silverman or silver butler has expertise and professional knowledge of the management, secure storage, use and cleaning of all silverware, associated tableware and other paraphernalia for use at military and other special functions. This expertise covers the maintenance, cleaning, proper use and presentation of these assets to create aesthetically correct layouts for effective ambience at such splendid occasions. The role of silverman tends now to be restricted to some private houses and large organizations, in particular the military.

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