I often receive comments about my flatware, even if I am posting about food or styling or something else entirely. I will admit that I have a thing for flatware and have inherited and collected some beautiful pieces.
The pieces I inherited from at least five different women in my family are stunning and hard to ignore, which is the main reason why I started using them as our everyday flatware several years ago. They are just too pretty to keep in a box 363 days of the year, only making appearances at Thanksgiving and Christmas.
So, despite being valuable heirlooms, we use them every day for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I doubt my boys remember using anything else and I know they just see them as regular ole forks and spoons.
HERE is a post about why I use my silver every day and how I clean and care for it.
Since they are Sterling silver, they do need to be polished now and then, so I took some time a couple of days ago to give them all a quick polish. Because we use them daily, they don’t have to be polished very often – maybe once or twice each year.
Every time I polish them, though, it gives me time to appreciate them in a new way. I pay more attention to the details, monograms, and markings and notice things I had forgotten or hadn’t noticed before.
One of the things I noticed recently is that I had always assumed they were all the same pattern, but when I looked closely at the handles, I realized I have several patterns. I also realized, after looking at websites devoted to Stieff and Kirk Stieff flatware, that it would take days to try to properly identify each piece! There are so many variations between different pieces even in the same pattern, that’s it’s hard to know exactly what I have.
All of the patterns are by Steiff or Kirk Stieff (or some variation of that company) and most of my pieces are Repoussé. I also have pieces from Chrysanthemum, Princess, and Stieff Rose.
And I love that I have pieces monogrammed from two of my great-grandmothers and even great-great and great-great-great-grandparents. The A stands for Allen, my Oma’s mother…
The K is for Kevan, which was my great-great-grandmother on my Opa’s side.
This spoon is a unique piece in that it’s the only one with a gold bowl. It’s also engraved with the name “Marion”, which is obviously a family name but isn’t the spelling my Oma, or my great-aunt, or I used. There is a Marion deep in our family tree, but was that who this spoon belonged to or was it a misspelling?
I also have a huge silver ladle in a different pattern that is engraved March 30, 1870!
It’s a beautiful ladle and we use it all the time to serve up soup! It’s still practical at 150 years old!
And, two of my favorite pieces are my Oma’s baby spoon and fork. The fork was mangled in a garbage disposal before it came into my possession, but it’s still such a sweet set. The funny thing is that the spoon bowl is about the size of a regular soup spoon, so it’s huge in comparison to the handle.
They both have her initials monogrammed on the back – MVA.
I also have some fun serving pieces like a couple of nut spoons…
And all sorts of unique pieces for serving, cheese platters, appetizers, etc.
In this day and age, we just don’t use nut spoons and olive forks and ice cream spoons, but I love that we’re using all of these pieces in our own way. I love that I am using and enjoying pieces that were gifted or purchased by women in my family and it’s a collection that’s been built up and added to over the years. (And I don’t even own the entire collection. It was split between family members several years ago.)
I’m considering adding a few more pieces to it here and there and have them monogrammed with a P or an MVP, just to continue the tradition.
Anyone else polishing their silver while at home? I heard from so many followers on Instagram that it was on their “quarantine to-do list”, too!
What has your family collected and passed down to you?
If you’re interested in starting or adding to a silver set, one of the best places to pick up pieces is eBay. You could build a pretty nice collection by adding a few pieces each year. I would also suggest browsing the cases at antique stores. I once found a set of 4 salad forks in a case for $50, which is a great price for sterling silver pieces. If you want full, pristine sets in their cases, 1st Dibs and other high-end sites will be a good bet and you can find new place settings on Wayfair.