Archive | November, 2010

Announcement: A Guide To Buying Flatware

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Announcement: A Guide To Buying Flatware

When choosing the best flatware sets for your loved ones, there are numerous factors that you should take into consideration. In the olden days, most families would have a nice set of flatware for daily use and one for special events or occasions. Nowadays, where society is less formal, having a single set is enough. But how will you know which among the numerous flatware set types are right for you?

A factor to be considered when buying flatware is how your family uses the set. Will you be using it for outdoor gatherings and for barbecue parties? Will the set be utilized for formal dinners with business clients and associates? Will you be using it daily, or will you reserve it for special occasions or gatherings? Do you prefer a nice setting, which can be replaced constantly as situations and styles change, or a set, which will be used and can last for many years? Your budget and needs will determine which  flatware set type is best for you.

Types of Flatware Sets

The decorative type sets usually have handles that are made of various materials which are typically non-metallic. Wood, porcelain, plastic, and ceramic are among the commonly utilized materials for this flatware set. Most antique sets of flatware utilize shells or bones as handles. Typically, flatware handles are attached using an attachment that is screw-type to the flatware itself, although in other cheaper versions, strong glue or adhesive is utilized. Using an array of material as handles for flatware sets allows adaptability in pairing or matching the flatware you have with your china and kitchen furnishings, however versatility can have disadvantages. Acrylic handle flatware, while decorative, breaks easily. Decorative type flatware sets do not generally last long and are not able to withstand modern dishwashers and repeated long-term use. There are some exceptions, however, for synthetics, which are more durable but cost more.

Gilded and Gold Plated Flatware Sets

Gold-plated or gilded flatware is famous for its elegant golden color, which can be bought as decoratively gilded or completely gilded. The decoratively gilded flatware is commonly gilded on the handles’ decorative portions for superficial enhancement. To uniformly produce golden color on the entire flatware, a thin coating of gold that is chemically hardened is applied. If your flatware is used daily, you might notice the beautiful gold coating on it wears away; this is the down side of this specific flatware design. The gilded flatware is expensive, making it an impractical option for most families who wish to own a good flatware set.

Solid Silver Flatware Sets

Another type that is considered as standard heirloom is the solid silver set. Opposite to what the name indicates, this it is made of totally pure silver. Solid silver type flatware is available in two primary types, known as regular silver and sterling silver. The latter type is considered to be the most popular and accepted  type that is solid silver and is accredited in the US for having 92.5% by weight of authentic silver. Hallmarks that strongly indicate that it is certified sterling silver, differs by country and manufacturer, however flatware made in US are branded as either 925/1000, sterling, or 925 to imply their status. Although copper material is the widely used mixture in making sterling silver, a wide array of mixtures are utilized in producing sterling silver, each having their own benefits. Various formulations and creations are even tarnish-resistant. The purity of regular silver flatware differs, but it typically measures 80% authentic silver.

Silver Plated Flatware Sets

Flatware that is silver plated is a combination of luxury offered by silver and practicality offered by stainless steel. The silver-plate material is usually made by applying a thin coating of silver which has been hardened over the stainless steel. While the silver-plated type is commonly subjected to wear issues like the gilded flatware, this type is typically safe in dishwashers and is more durable compared to the gilded kind. For people who are not able to afford the expensive sterling silver, opting for silver-plated can also provide a similar appearance at a lower price, based on the quality of depth of coating. Sets that are silver-plated are graded differently compared to sterling silver type sets.  For example, if a certain flatware is rated 100 g, it means that about 100 grams silver was utilized in coating.

Stainless Flatware Sets

The stainless type flatware is typically categorized as chromium-steel or chromium-nickel. Chromium-steel is considered as the most affordable among the varieties. Although chromium steel offers protection against pitting and corrosion and is categorized as stainless steel, this type lacks corrosion and durability of the chromium-nickel type flatware. However, the advantage of this type is it can be magnetized. This is beneficial for big restaurants that utilize systems of magnetic dish washing. Chromium-nickel type flatware is made from mixture of chromium element and nickel. This type is  rust proof, very durable, and also dishwasher safe. Since these metals are known to be malleable, items made from this mixture are easily shaped into interesting and unique designs. 18/10, 18/8, 18/0 flatware set. These percentages simply let you know the amount of chrome and nickel found in the stainless steel alloy used to make the products. Chrome is added to help resist corrosion. Nickel gives stainless a soft, silver-like luster. Nickel offers protection against pitting and corrosion, thus making the chromium-nickel  the most preferred  type. If the flatware is categorized as 18/10, it means that there is 18% chromium on it and 10% nickel by measurement or weight. It is also considered as standard top-quality flatware type that is made of stainless steel .  The best stainless steel used in flatware is a composite of different steels and varies in terms of grades for different uses. The main ingredient in flatware is chromium and nickel has been added to provide a resistance to corrosion.

Quality

All flatware is not the same quality. From tea spoons to pie servers, they will vary considerably in both price and composition. At first glance on the flatware packaging, it may look like 18/10, but a closer inspection may reveal, that it is actually only 18/0 flatware. When in the store shopping, take time to open the flatware package and handle a utensil. An 18/10 spoon has a great ‘feel’ in your hand, the polish is gleaming and it should look very elegant. Such quality flatware is definitely worth paying the higher price. Some flatware companies will label their merchandise with a slighter higher than 8% nickel content, such as 8.3% as 18/10, since it doesn’t quite fit in the 18/8 category. Flatware that is 18/10 means that 18% is chromium and 10% is nickel. The higher the nickel content, the more protection the flatware has from corrosion. Prices of stainless steel flatware vary considerably depending on these specs, so don’t be fooled into thinking you are buying the best quality, if the nickel content is 0%.

Flatware Brands

Flatware is a silverware which comprises various components like spoons, forks, and knives. Numerous manufacturers are making it. The different brands that are available to purchase include:

Dansk – This manufacturer produces an array of nice flatware sets with different designs and rates. Some products of Dansk are Classique, Precision, and Erol. This brand is known for offering products of supreme quality.

Gorham – This flatware manufacturer is very famous for creating flatware sets that are really pleasing for having finest designs.

Oneida – This manufacturer offers flatware in 5 sets. The notable thing about the flatware produced by Oneida is its gleaming quality; the beautiful glow it produces makes the nicely designed flatware even more aesthetically pleasing.

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