Silver (household)

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Silver cutlery

Household silver ("the silver") comprises dishware, cutlery and other household items made of sterling silver, usually bought in sets or combined to form sets, such as a set of silver candlesticks or a silver tea service.

Care and custody of silver

Silver requires a good deal of care, as it tarnishes and must be hand polished, since careless or machine polishing ruins the patina.

In a great house, the footmen cleaned and polished the silver, overseen by the butler who was responsible for it. In the largest households, there would have been one footman who was silver specialist and did nothing else. [1]

In today's middle-income households the few items of silver or silverplate may be displayed on a buffet or in a cabinet or china cabinet or breakfront, but a larger collection of silver is usually locked away in a secured room or a special silver safe.


  1. Emily Post's Etiquette: A Guide to Modern Manners. Elizabeth L. Post. 14th Edition.