What Are the Pros and Cons of Using Vintage Cutlery?

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  • Written By: Alicia Sparks
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 11 December 2018
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Many of the pros associated with using vintage cutlery are related to the aesthetic appeal of the pieces and the personal meaning of antiques that have been passed down through family generations. Generally, cons are related to the special steps necessary to properly care for antique cutlery. Often, these kinds of pros and cons balance each other out depending on how often the owner actually uses the pieces.

Aside from having monetary value, certain pros of using vintage cutlery span most owners. For example, many owners and users alike consider antique cutlery to be beautiful. Depending on its age, many of these types of cutlery were made with intricate engravings and designs that add a certain old-fashioned or vintage charm to the table setting or cutlery display. Using vintage cutlery can also act as a dinner conversation starter. Dinner guests who aren’t familiar with the silverware’s origin, or who simply want to know more about how it was acquired, will often ask the host for information about it.


Other pros of using vintage cutlery are more personal to the individual owners. Antique kitchenware that has been passed down from generation to generation within a particular family tends to have special meaning to the owners. Typically, even if the antique cutlery has little or no monetary value, it has great personal value to the owners. It’s for this reason some people choose not to use their antique silverware for everyday meals, and sometimes not at all. They want to preserve the silverware so they can continue to enjoy its meaning as well as pass it along to other family members when the time comes.

Depending on how important the cutlery is, or how much the owner enjoys using it, some of the cons of using vintage cutlery might outweigh the pros. For example, unlike many of today’s types of cutlery, vintage cutlery usually requires upkeep that is much more involved than just washing it and putting it away. Some types of antique cutlery aren’t dishwasher safe, which means the owner must hand wash the pieces with detergents that won’t harm the material. Too, depending on the cutlery’s material, it might require polishing after washing. Most types of antique silverware, for example, must be polished with special silverware polish to keep the pieces from tarnishing.

Some owners of vintage cutlery can bypass many of the cons simply by not using the pieces. Displaying them, rather than using them, can cut down on the work and risk involved in keeping the pieces in the best possible condition. Still, these owners face certain other cons. Proper storage of vintage silverware, for example, typically requires a special chest lined with a tarnish-resistant lining. Also, current or potential owners should note that even if they never use the cutlery, silverware needs to be polished periodically to remove and prevent tarnish and other stains and damage.


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