What Can I Do With Old Silverware?
Silverware was considered a common yet luxurious gift to newlyweds passed down from generation to generation during the old days.
But younger generations with this heirloom do not find old silverware amusing and tend to dispose of them.
But why would you dispose of them if you can do something to improvise it and keep it in the family?
What can I do with old silverware? If the old silverware is pure sterling silver, you can sell it in the market or antique collectors. If the old silverware is not pure, you can repurpose it by making DIY crafts. Pure or not, antique silverware has value.
Interested in repurposing your old silverware or silver cutlery? Well, check this article to know how to improvise or sell your old silverware.
Let me start by teaching you how to clean your silverware to determine if it is pure or not.
Cleaning Your Silverware
Deemed as one of the precious metals alongside gold and platinum, silver has captivated our common global society for decades as a sign of stature, prosperity, and creative brilliance.
With such great elegance, though, comes the task of holding these luxurious items at their best.
True antique silver is never useless, although there are a few specifics you’ll need. First, clean the silver properly to decipher stamps and marks more quickly.
When planning to clean up your silver, bear in mind that your key objective is to maintain the silver surface of your antique sterling silver pieces. It is necessary to do this:
- Utilize store-bought silver cleaners as sparingly as possible, as the chemical compounds inside will potentially destroy your antique items.
- Never use a rough brush to scrape surface bleach or other ingredients, as you run the risk of damaging your silver.
- Two palms with a silver spoon and a white cloth
- To start cleaning the bleached silver, place a soft cloth on your work surface to cover your object. It’s also safer to wear a pair of cotton gloves to minimize the amount of oil and other residues that your fingertips left behind.
Clean your silverware with a soft cloth. Use a light brush or a cotton bud for tough nooks and crannies.
A combination of a silver cleaning cloth and a warm water solution mixed with a mild detergent can do the trick.
After working all over your silver piece, make sure to dry it properly before storing it away.
For silver items that are fully coated with a black coating of tarnish, you’ll need to try a bit harder.
But home silver cleaning treatments will still work. Using the same mild detergent solution and silver cleaning cloth or light brush, work the piece steadily and carefully.
It would help if you also disinfected the silver with a solution of baking soda, salt, vinegar, and hot water for heavier washing.
Cleaning Silver With Baking Soda
- First, mix a tablespoon of both baking soda and salt and then add half a cup of white vinegar and a boiling water cup. Scale the volume, of course, to meet the size of your piece.
- Then pour this solution into an aluminum foil-lined pan and then immerse your piece in this solution.
- The effect is an almost complete dissolution of the tarnish due to an electrochemical reaction.
Other Home Remedies For Cleaning Silver
Silver-cleaning with toothpaste or also with tomato ketchup has also been shown to reduce the appearance of tarnish.
But these methods can be dangerous. The acidity in ketchup can harm your platinum, while the different fluoride toothpaste compounds can cause unintended reactions.
Types Of Silver
Silverplate is a method of covering the base metal with silver so that the final product seems like a real thing, but it’s still a lot less expensive.
If the object feels light in weight because of its height, it may be plated.
Sterling is stamped with the word Sterling on the back. This means the silver is either pure or made of.925 silver with.075 copper attached.
All Sterlings produced in the United States after 1850 will be stamped with one of three marks:
If the silver does not have the label, it is not sterling unless it is ancient. If you believe that your silver is very old and might not be labeled, you should take it to a specialist and test it for acid. This will decide if the object is actual silver.
There are situations where home remedies and easy fixes won’t work. Approaching a jewelry expert is better to ensure the safety of your money.
A prime example is if your silver has a greenish tint, which means your silver’s copper content has corroded.
It allows the growth of green crystalline deposits (known as verdigris). This verdigris can be extracted, but it involves a chemical solution and, with most silver, should be administered by a professional conservationist.
The same will happen if you’re hoping to patch a slice of silver foil. If the silver plate has been worn or has been especially damaged, it may be re-plated or re-silvered. This must be performed by a professional.
Bear in mind that the more tarnish you allow collecting on your silver, the more diligently you need to clean it.
This means an increased chance to inadvertently crack or mar the silver surface during heavy piece washing. It is why routine maintenance that removes extensive tarnish is often recommended.
Difference Between Silver And Silverplate
Silverplate doesn’t have any actual meaning. It doesn’t have enough silver in it to have someone’s worth to meltdown, and it doesn’t have any resale value in general.
If it is an heirloom, it has sentimental value, and you can always use it with respect.
Sterling silver is valuable because it can be polished and thus maintains the present price of silver. Flatware and other items typically maintain their resale value and desirability.
Vintage silver is also valuable as an antique, even well above what the content of silver would dictate.
Find The Value Of Your Pure Silverware
Whether the full set of family silver you have is an inheritance or found a lot in a garage sale, you might be wondering how to determine antique silver’s value.
When your silver is thoroughly cleaned, you can start examining it for stamps and hallmarks.
If the silver is marked as sterling, you will start evaluating the worth of the ballpark. But a specialist would be necessary for accurate estimation and measurement.
If you already know the manufacturer and the pattern, you can search the market price for replacement parts on a website. This will give you an indication of the age and worth of your silver.
If you don’t know the pattern’s maker, you’re going to want to check it out first. Look at the back of the silver for a hallmark.
It’s going to be different from a sterling stamp. A detailed introduction to this online encyclopedia of silver hallmarks can be found here.
Once you find the maker, you’ll need to find the pattern. This can be achieved by identifying the pattern and the maker in the Google search window. If one of the photos fits, you will be able to locate the pattern.
Knowing the worth of vintage silver is just part of judging it. By the end of the day, you’ll want to take the silver to a local appraiser for reliable measurement and review.
This is the best way to be confident of the worth of your money, either for resale or insurance purposes.
Repurpose Your Old Silverware
Do not get rid of any antique silverware, even if it’s not pure. For all we know, regardless if it is pure or not, it still has value – especially antique ones in good condition.
As long as it is not breaking into pieces, you can still find a purpose for it.
Silverware is not solely for food! If you have a set lying around and you don’t get any use of it, don’t dump it in the garbage!
Here are a lot of enjoyable and imaginative ways to turn it into something exceptional.
- Sterling Spoon (or other sterling silverware)
- Ring Mandrel
- Hack Saw
- Rubber or Rawhide Mallet
- Measure using your finger, or use paper or string. Use this measure to make a mark on the ring to indicate where you will cut it when you bent it.
- Use your power to bend your silverware around your mandrel. Make sure you curve it at the end you intend to use for your brace.
- Using the saw to cut off the excess at the measurement you indicated earlier.
- Using the file to smooth the sharp tip.
- Wrap the bent ring around the mandrel and use the mallet to wrap it in a circle. If you are trying to round the mandrel to a greater scale than you like and then work your way up the mandrel to a smaller size with the mallet, it makes the task a little simpler. Be diligent with this step.
- Polish and wear.
- random pieces of silverware, like spoons and forks
- thin thread, wire, or fishing line
- heavy duty flat nose pliers
- optional: beads and pearls for decoration
- heavy duty needle nose pliers
- Bend the silverware. Choose a decently sized fork to serve as the central ‘hanger.’ Be careful so the fork doesn’t crack.
- Flatten the spoons. Place the spoons in the target of the workbench and squish them flatly that way.
Use two bits of rubber on the interior of the bicycle tire to protect the prism. Your spoons aren’t going to be scratched that badly. Keep the spoon going in the target until it’s nice and clean.
- Make the silverware holes. The last move in this section is to drill holes in your silverware bits. First, a little dent using a straight pick, which will help keep the drill from sliding.
- Connect the silverware to your wind chime. Dug into a stash of beads and jewels with threads and wires and buttons and pearls.
Craft the little heart and go for some embellishment in any color you want. Check it out now and then to see how it looks and how it all jingles beautifully together.
Spoon Cabinet Handle
- Silverplate spoons
- Drill with a metal bit
- Rubber hammer
- Choose the spoons. You may make the handles from matching spoons or mix and match the silver designs for fun. The silver plate is very easy to deal with and folds easily, and is sturdy enough to hang on to regular wear and tear.
- Flatten the spoons by The easiest way to do this was to put the spoon on the brick and flatten it there. Cover it in a towel so that the spoon doesn’t get too scratched. After a few pounds, the spoon is going to be flat!
- Bend the handle. This was the easiest move I felt would be the toughest one. With my fingertips, you should bend the handle. You should use the inherent bend of the spoon to apply the pressure, so it resembles the shape of the handle.
- Stamp the spoon. Stamp your spoon with an organizational message. If you’re a non-stamper, you ought to go stampless.
- Drill Holes, guy. Tap the spoon to a block of wood and drill the holes in the spoon’s top and bottom. Screw the spoon in the cupboard.
- Silver spoons
- Black sharpie
- Metal Alphabet Set
- Flatten the spoons by putting the spoon on the brick and flatten it there. Cover it in a towel so that the spoon doesn’t get too scratched. After a few pounds, the spoon is going to be flat!
- Get your letters out to find out what you’re going to spell. Begin the words in the center, so they’re pretty focused. And be sure you’re going to put the letters in the right direction.
- Bang per letter over 10 times. Once you’ve spelled out the title, go over the black sharpie letters to make them pop a little more. Don’t worry. If you have too much marker on your spoons, you can wipe it off with a touch of alcohol.
- Round Mirror
- Plate, a few inches bigger than the mirror
- Start by cutting out 2 circles of cardboard. Measure halfway between the bottom end of the plate and the edge to create a circle.
- Glue the two rings together with the hot glue. This is going to give you a stable foundation for your silverware.
- You can use wood or something else as a frame, too.
- Press the edge of the plate down into the circle, then draw it with a marker. You know how to put your silverware.
- Start to work on the layout. Lay all the silverware out, so stick it together. Start with your knives. They were the fattest in diameter, but I didn’t want them to be under the plate at all. I aligned them with the line of the bottom.
- Add the spoons and the forks. Use whatever pattern and style you choose.
- Place the plate on the layout to make sure it is as smooth as possible. Make all of the spacing modifications you need. Start gluing to the silverware, make your way around the circle.
Storing Your Old Silverware
It is safest to keep them balanced in a regulated atmosphere with a humidity level of around 50%.
If you have a home humidistat, this can be done. If you don’t have one, try to keep the silver away from overly wet or wet environments.
You will also help protect your antique silver condition by putting camphor blocks or anti-tarnish paper in your display case.
This method can help to mitigate the effect of moisture and environmental factors that may feed tarnish.
Sealing the antique silver surface with a lacquer layer or a microcrystalline wax layer is also a choice. Lacquer layers tend to scratch quickly with excessive treatment.
But they are superior to the wax choice to preserve intricately carved features on a complex silver item.
You will help minimize the buildup of tarnish when you place it in storage. Before packing your antique silver, you can limit tarnish by wrapping them in unpainted cotton fabric or acid-free tissue paper.
Silver cleaning can be a labor of love. Using these techniques to clean antique silver will take some of the tension out of the process. It will also help you show the full potential of your silver collection.
To summarize, there are plenty of things you can do with your antique silverware – pure or not.
Just don’t toss it away, especially if it has been in your family for generations. If you’re not a fan of it, improvise it to something more “in-the-now” or sell it.