Jewelry quality flatware is flatware that is free of any defect that cannot be removed or changed during the jewelry making process. Defects that can be removed from flatware during the jewelry making process include:
Tarnish – tarnish is oxidation that occurs as a result of contact with air. This occurs on flatware that has sat untouched for a long period of time. Tarnish is something that cannot be prevented with normal storage.
Surface marks - marks that occur from contact with other flatware or from very light use. These are marks that do not affect the integrity of the silver plate.
The above mentioned defects are the two most common and acceptable flaws when purchasing flatware that is to be used for jewelry.
It is common to find jewelry that is made from flatware that contains serious flaws. These flaws will affect the longevity and the appearance of the flatware and any spoon jewelry produced from it. Two of the most common flaws found in sub-standard flatware include:
Silver loss – Most authentic spoon jewelry is made from silver-plate flatware. Silver loss is when the silver-plating on the flatware is worn to the point that the metal underneath is exposed. Silver loss occurs on flatware that has been used heavily over a very long period of time. It is possible, with heavy use, to wear through the silver-plating. This usually occurs on flatware that is used daily over a long period of time. If a spoon jewelry maker purchases flatware that is visibly worn but does not show signs of silver loss, can the maker know the thickness of the remaining silver? The answer is obviously no. This is why it is necessary for purchasers of spoon jewelry to ask the maker if he/she is using flatware that is jewelry quality.
Dull Finish – Flatware that has been used heavily will have a dull finish. Jewelry quality flatware should be able to hold a mirror finish shine. Worn flatware cannot be brought to this level of shine. Through years of use the silver-plating will have been thinned to the point that if a mirror finish shine is attempted it will cause “silver loss”.
To avoid purchasing fork and spoon jewelry that is made from sub-standard flatware, look for the tell tale flaws noted above and consider the following questions:
How does the maker purchase their flatware? Do they purchase complete sets of, well cared for, flatware from estates or do they purchase box lots (lots of miscellaneous flatware that have been used and abused).
Does the maker re-plate their flatware with new silver-plate or rhodium plating? The surface of worn flatware is often re-plated during the jewelry making process. The addition of new plating to antique flatware changes the overall appearance of the flatware. The most notable change in appearance would be the loss of detail due to the new plating filling in the pattern on the flatware. Jewelry made from flatware that has undergone new plating, or spoon jewelry that is put through this process, will have an unnatural look. The loss of the antique patina in the detail of the pattern is easily noticed. I have had many people ask me “why does some spoon jewelry look fake?” and I explain the process that is used by other makers.
The preceding tips are part of the dedication that Forkjewelry.com has in providing quality fork and spoon jewelry and excellent service to its customers. Please feel free to contact us with any questions regarding this article.
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