Silverware is usually something that doesn’t require much thought.
You go to some variety of dollar store and buy a new pack once you have destroyed or lost enough spoons or forks for it to be necessary. But silverware has a side to it that I find a lot of people are missing out on.
Silverware has a variety of features that can be important if you know what to look for. Metal composition, weight, form, and design are all factors that can really make up a nice set of silverware that can last a lifetime.
The most obvious thing to notice is form. Ideally, when you hold a spoon or fork, your hand should feel naturally at ease when you are just about at the apex of the front curve.
Some silverware can feel very heavy in the hand and can have some awful shapes to it. Imagine a spoon that has a triangular grip to it that bites into your hand and causes it to feel weighted heavily in the back. You’ll feel like you’re trying to not drop the thing as all the weight tilts forward whenever you try to use it.
The biggest pitfall of your run-of-the-mill piece of silverware is its metal composition.
On the back of silverware, that isn’t just made of stainless steel, there will always be two numbers separated by a slash, indicating its additional metal components other than steel. These other components are always chromium and nickel.
Premium silverware will always have 18/8 or 18/10 engraved on the back, indicating the percentage of chromium and nickel, respectively.
Chromium gives the silverware its strength. If you’ve ever cursed as your spoon bends inside the ice cream container, you know that stainless steel silverware is very easy to bend. A spoon with 18% chromium is very difficult to bend, making sure that the ideal curve mentioned earlier never changes.
The other number is Nickel. Nickel keeps silverware from getting blemished. The nickel prevents rust and makes silverware keep its shine.
Finally, putting the final touch on the nicest of silverware is the design. A nice design can really add to the quality of a piece of silverware, because, unlike regular silverware, that shine becomes much more apparent on a finely engraved spoon, knife or fork. While personally, the melon-bud design is my preference, there are many other designs for however you want your silverware to look.
Now we get to price, and while I am sad to admit it, these sets do not come cheap. The set I usually recommend, the Gorham Melon Bud stainless steel set, comes in at $200 for a 45-piece set.
These silverware sets aren’t something you would like to have accidentally dumped in the trash and so it is hard for me to recommend it to everyone, especially if you have children.
But if you’re the type of person who buys a quality mattress, vacuum cleaner, or knife set, you know that bearing that upfront cost can lead to having a product that can last for decades to come.