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If you want to purchase silver plated cutlery, several decisions will help you to choose the best available. Price is one of the biggest considerations, since silver-plated cutlery is generally not inexpensive. Choosing a pattern is also important, as you want to pick something that both complements your dishes and suits your personal taste. Other considerations that can help in making the decision are the durability of the cutlery, whether it is easy to care for, and what is included in the purchase price.
Silver plated cutlery can usually be identified by the letters EPNS, printed on the back of the utensils. This stands for electroplated nickel silver. Silver plated cutlery can be cheaper than sterling silver and more expensive than stainless steel. The prices ranges however, can overlap for different types of cutlery, and silver plated cutlery is sold in a wide range of prices.
Generally, silver plate is a costly purchase, but it is usually purchased only once, and the high cost is offset by the number of years over which it will be used. Since it is expensive, both sterling silver and silver plate are often included on wedding registries and given to a couple as an engagement, bridal shower, or wedding gift.
Look at the various patterns available and begin with designs that appeal to you visually. Pick up the pieces and hold them to get an idea of how they feel in your hand. Decide whether they are too heavy or too light or if the pattern on the handle is uncomfortable in your hand. Also think about how the pieces will complement your dishes when they are set side by side on the table. If your dishes have an elaborate design, a plain and simple set of cutlery will add elegance without taking away from the dishes, while cutlery with a decorative or ornate pattern can enhance a simple plate.
Silver plated cutlery will tarnish if not cared for and stored properly, which is something else to consider when choosing a pattern. Simply designed handles are easier to clean than more decorative pieces. Both routine cleaning and polishing are required with silver plate, just as with sterling silver. Both can be cleaned and polished in the same manner. Sometimes a storage box is included with a complete set of silver plated cutlery, and most of these have a special liner that will help keep the cutlery tarnish free.
If you are purchasing a complete set of silver plated cutlery rather than individual pieces or place settings, decide how many place settings you want. A standard place setting consists of a knife, a fork, a teaspoon, and a soup spoon, and most complete sets include service for eight. You may want additional items, such as salad forks or serving utensils, and if so, look for a set that includes them.
Durability should also be a consideration since you want to ensure that the pieces you choose will last for a long time. Pieces that are flimsy or not well constructed may not last as long as better made pieces. Consider sticking with a well-known manufacturer when choosing cutlery. Another thing to look for is a guarantee. Some manufacturers offer a guarantee with their product that may cover replacement of damaged pieces.
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