my silver patterns

Marian ParsonsAll Things Home, Antiques, Cleaning & care, Favorite Things62 Comments

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.

my silver patterns

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62 Comments on “my silver patterns”

  1. What a thrill to have and use things that have been in the family for so many generations! What a treasure! And so beautiful! I’d say the ladies in your family also handed down love and appreciation for the wonderful family ties, generation after generation.

  2. It is so funny that you did a post on your sterling silver flatware, as I was just wondering the other day if your silver was Stieff!

    I am sure you know this, but Marion is the spelling for the male version of the name. Perhaps you have one in your family tree.

    I enjoy looking for a new post from you every day. Thanks so much for giving your fans a little normalcy in this weird and difficult time. Everyone, please give a little prayer to those suffering from this virus, as well as those in harm’s way. I for one have two in-laws in NYC, one a nurse and the other a fireman. They are still healthy but their coworkers are coming down with the virus and the ranks are getting thin.

  3. Always my favorite, the Chrysanthemum is my favorite. You are blessed, both in the having it and knowing that your are! Thank you for sharing your pretty things.

  4. Wow! Such a beautiful collection! I can remember digging in the dirt with my mothers silver! She always told me it was Kirk Stieff Repoussé. I’ve since learned in my attempts to add to the collection, that it is actually called Southern Rose by Manchester. I’ve mixed and matched over the years but never have I found some of the beautiful spoons that you’ve collected! My enthusiasm is renewed! 😊

  5. I started using our antique silver recently for everyday meals. It is wonderful to look down at the monograms and remember people. My great grandfather sold buggies and I have one of his advertising silver serving pieces with beautiful engraved buggy on it!

  6. It’s such a beautiful collection!! I adore it. What a treasure. My mother’s set that I inherited also included silver ashtrays that you attach to your dish. And I remember all the ladies using them when I was young. Such a different time💕

  7. My parents came from Norway and we used the silver everyday. I have done the same, and have inherited pieces from my grandmother. I was named for her and my grandfather gave her silver for her birthdays. I have also bought antique twisted handled spoons here in the states, also made in Norway. Your silver is beautiful. In answer to an above question, I have washed my silver in the dishwasher after parties, but I hand wash for daily family use. I love reading your blog and am amazed by your productivity and grace.

  8. I so enjoyed reading this post and seeing your stunning collection of such beauty. Those spoons with the elaborate bowls are gorgeous. My Gramma always used “her best” china and flatware daily. She said it made her feel closer to home–Norway–and her food she prepared tasted better on pretty plates! You remind me of how B Smith said we should live. Set your table for your family with your silver and china like you were having the most important guests at dinner, because you are….

  9. Do you do hand wash or put these pieces in the dishwasher? Anything other than polish for cleaning??? I never thought to use sterling daily, but why not? As always- thank you.

  10. I inherited some silver from my mother; she always said it was Joan of Arc. When I needed to replace a spoon, I ordered one from eBay. Close but not a match?? So I got out a magnifying glass and found the name “Westmorland” on the back. I typed that into eBay (where sometimes it is listed with an extra e: Westmoreland) and found that what my mother really had was a pattern called George and Martha Washington. This lead me to Google Westmorland Silver where I found an interesting story on how the six silver patterns came into being. Silver often tells a story which adds to it’s beauty! Thank you for sharing your “silver story”!

  11. Absolutely stunning And beautiful beautiful collection, now I think I will start looking for my own collection!!! Stay healthy MMS!!!

  12. Beautiful collection. I’ve been collecting Samuel Kirk coin and sterling silver in the Mayflower pattern for over 20 years. I love to get it out once in awhile to admire and polish a few pieces. I have to laugh at myself when I do it because when I was young and my mother would put all of her silver on the kitchen table and hand me a can of silver polish and a pile of cloth I would just sit there and cry. It felt like a punishment to me then. Now I find it relaxing.

  13. I could have written this article word for word! This is my pattern as well. And I, too, inherited the entire collection. I use them every day for every meal. I have a hard time getting them really clean with polish because of the detail. I have so many pieces I don’t use that I’ve been thinking of selling some. But I love that I have such beautiful flatware.

  14. I have always admired your beautiful flatware pieces Marian. I love the fact that your family uses it daily. I was promised the old family silver flatware that my mother in law inherited and only used for the big holidays but felt funny about taking it while she’s still living. She’s lived in a retirement complex for two years now and the silver sits unused and appreciated. I’ve only recently decided I will go over and get it to use everyday. I just called my husband, who had to go to work for a few hrs and is a mile from his moms place, and asked him to go by and get it for me. I don’t know the quality of the pieces, but I do know the sentimental value. What do you use to clean yours? I am excited!

  15. My two daughter’s have my mother’s and grandmother’s in grand baroque. I have a simpler pattern from Wallace I inherited from my greataunt. Also many interesting serving pieces.

    I also have a collection of silver spoons from same great aunt. Many depict train stations and landmarks as her husband worked for railroad. A very special one has Santa and says Merry Christmas. Also found children’s spoons and forks.

  16. Marian,
    Beautiful silver patterns!
    Yes! I, too, had a silver polishing day.
    Mostly my collected silver trays. . .which I use in my kitchen everyday!
    Some of my silver pieces are heirloom.
    Thank you for always inspiring!
    Pat

  17. What a lucky girl you are ,Marian! I have sterling that I was gifted as wedding gifts and the some I inherited when spouse’s grandmother passed. I have also purchased some additional service pieces at estate sales. I only used then for holiday but who knows… you’ve inspired me! For each of my children( 2 boys and 1 girl) purchased sterling cake knives as engagement gifts. They have used them at their weddings and to cut their children’s birthday cake.

  18. Hi!

    I love seeing all of the unique silver pieces, we love using our ice cream spoons!
    Have a nice day!
    Mary Jane

  19. I always love to see someone who also uses their sterling all the time. I do too! My mother said that was always the best way to avoid polishing it…

    My pattern is also Repousse–with a few pieces of Steiff Rose thrown in–and I inherited it from my grandmother. I have a lot of the same interesting pieces you do, too. My brother and I (and my daughter) both used the same baby spoon and fork. I was also lucky enough to inherit several of her large sterling serving pieces.

    I remember my grandmother telling me she chose Repousse because of the prominent daisies (her favorite flower). It was one of the three patterns from which her mother would only allow her to choose! If you’ve ever read “A Southern Belle Primer”, you would know that it is one of the 12 Patterns of the Southern Silver Zodiac, LOL. As my family is from Savannah, GA, the pattern is spot-on–we take our sterling seriously!

    Enjoy using it–your boys will always remember it! 🙂

    1. I love the Southern Belle Primer – ever since reading it I call “Repousse” – “Repossessed” 😀

      My mom’s 1948 wedding silver is International’s “Prelude”. I also have Wm Rogers “Hostess” silverplate pattern from the 1920s, which we use every day.

  20. Wonderful collection. I was married in the late ’60s when having silver wasn’t a “thing.” I didn’t get the urge to own any until the early ’00s, and I bought everything from eBay, piece by piece. Mine is intentionally mismatched Art Nouveau, and I just love it. As Mario Buatto said when someone asked if his antiques were family: yes. They once belonged to someone’s family, just not mine.

  21. What beautiful photos! You always do such a good job with your pictures. And your silver is lovely. “Marian” was a man somewhere in your ancestry. Thanks for sharing this. My wedding silver is Towle Chippendale, not as fancy as yours, but nevertheless lovely in its simplicity.

  22. Whenever I see your silver pattern named I have to look twice…I think it says “Repossessed.” I got married in the late 60’s and we weren’t interested in silver. My first set of stainless is long gone but I have the feeling had I gotten sterling I would still have it. I just love that you appreciate fine old things.

  23. How lucky you are to have pieces belonging to your ancestors! I pick up a piece of plate now and then in thrift stores and it amazes me that so few people seem interested in silver. Your patterns are lovely.

  24. I inherited my mother’s and my grandmother’s Gorham patterns and while we don’t use them every day I’m thinking it might be time to reconsider! I also have three sets of silver plate from my husband’s grandmothers and his mother’s sterling (which I need, somehow, to get to my son and his wife as a wedding present even though they likely don’t want it) . In addition, when my mother lived in England, and every time we went back on home leave, she bought more sterling. Clearly I need to figure out how to start using this more often. All this to say, I love sterling silver even if it’s no longer very popular. Your patterns are gorgeous and I’m so glad you use it regularly!

  25. Last night I took an Epsom Salt bath and polished my body head to toe…it seems we are all finding things that are meaningful these days. I also cleaned my rings and glanced at my silver polish. Fun to see I align with what you are doing. Your silver is so beautiful Marian. I just easily breathed out as I was looking at it.

    Thank you so much for the brief pause~ Stay well,
    Cynthia

  26. Your collection is stunningly beautiful! How fun to mix and match them! I have my parent’s wedding silerware that is 70 years old. I love it! Wish I had more. My favorite, non toxic way to polish it is with toothpaste. You could use an old tooth brush to get into the design areas a bit. Then give a wash with mild dish soap and dry. They always come out sparkling clean. Just make sure that cleaning toothbrush is separate from others!

  27. You can also find individual pieces at Replacements.com. That baby spoon is currently available for right around $70!! How many more would you like? 😉

  28. My silver pattern is Fairfax by Gotham which is very plain, and I love that I have the large spoon by Steiff to mix with it. Right after my youngest daughter got married, I found a silver chest of Fairfax silver(12 place settings) which I purchased for about 700 dollars for her. So there are silver bargains out there. Looking forward to your art class tomorrow.

  29. I have and use my husband’s family silver plus the Limoge china. It’s a shame but my children have no interest and see the idea of polishing not for them. I enjoy and love when it’s all shiny. Thanks for sharing your lovely pieces.

  30. I inherited a set of sterling flatware and and monogrammed tea/coffee service (teapot, coffee pot, sugar and creamer and spoon holder) from my grandmother, a few pieces of flatware from my mother, and my mother-in-law’s completed set of sterling flatware. We use them for all our special dinners, but since I don’t want to put them into the dishwasher, I don’t use them daily

    Do you have any suggestions of businesses that do restoration of sterling pieces? My husband’s mother gave me his baby spoon and it also was mangled in a disposal. I would love to have it restored if possible to pass on to my daughter.

  31. My hubby accidentally dropped a dear miniature ladle (a family piece) into the garbage disposal our first year of marriage. It was sadly disfigured…however to my great surprise and delight he took it to a silver smith and gifted it back “all better” to me for Christmas! So if you ever wanted to I’m sure you could find a silver smith that could give the baby utensil some TLC.

  32. Oh how nice to have such beautiful pieces that are also useful. I just adore quality pieces that are handed down as to me that is priceless.
    When we were married 35 years ago we received a cutlery set with the initial of our last name on each handle and that was my favorite gift, and the one we still use…..along with the crock pot!!!
    Thanks for sharing:)

  33. I love that you use and enjoy your family silver. Being an only child, I inherited all of the silver on my mom’s side. There are some truly beautiful pieces and some very old ones. A lot are monogrammed. Family silver really does tell a story. My dad’s first name is Marion so it was a treat to see your monogrammed piece. His sisters have recently been giving me their mom’s sterling that was divided among them. It’s so beautiful and special to me. I love to watch them admire it when I host meals. It’s so good to see that people still cherish family heirlooms.

  34. My mom’s family silver included a poem that had been cut from a newspaper and protected in plastic. It reads:
    The silver in our family
    Is more than just a set
    Of knives and forks & spoons & such
    That many people get
    For it reflects the years gone by
    And folks who came before
    Familiar faces and the ones
    That never saw our shore
    A serving spoon from grandma and
    Her father’s carving knife
    A pickle fork and ladle from
    An uncle and his wife
    Enameled spoons from Norway and
    A strainer for the tea
    And ornamental pieces that
    Were forged in Germany
    We treasure every article
    And frequently it seems
    They make our meals taste better with
    Their memories and dreams.

  35. I never noticed or was very into flatware, until this post. BAM – you’re collection is absolutely gorgeous! What a blessing to have that handed down to so many generations. Thank you for brightening my day 🙂

  36. I could talk for hours about silver and silver patterns. I love to polish silver!! You have some really fun pieces. My mother made me choose a silver pattern when I was 8 years old because Gorham was having a huge sale. She bought me 8 place settings. When I turned 12, she bought me 4 more. I chose Chantilly and love it more at almost 60 than I did at age 8. I have so many unique pieces and because it is an old pattern, there are lots of really fun pieces and I find lots of monogrammed pieces. They are among my favorites. One of my late night guilty pleasures is looking at silver on eBay. There are some gorgeous patterns!

  37. Crazy heavily ornate patterns, wow, they photograph beautifully. Our pieces are old from Sweden, from France but very simple, with or without monograms. Some pieces we never use and they lay in their boxes, some are so special and we have no idea what they were used for, today’s life is less sophisticate and women work, we have no maids. The last two weeks I told myself to get the silverware a good polish, eggs are making it turn brown.

  38. I have decided to get out and use our “good” China and Silver on a more regular basis during this pandemic confinement and it has been a most enjoyable experience for me in many ways….enjoying the artistic beauty and savouring the memories of eating around the table with family and friends. Other articles have appeared as well, linen tea towels, and the like………what have I been saving them for !

  39. Your collection is beautiful Marian. I love that you use it everyday. Have you ever put out a post on how to care for sterling flatware?

  40. Beautful Family Heirlooms, Marian. I love that you use them everyday. We use ours too, including my husband’s left handed baby spoon, complete with a little bear on the end. Two of our boys are lefties too, and it’s perfect for scooping out avocados and such!

  41. Now I know the pattern of my grandmother’s silver. I just have a few pieces of Kirk Steiff Princess. Maybe someday I’ll be able to afford a few more pieces to add to the collection (or get lucky and find them at a thrift shop).

  42. Is your silverware Silver plate or sterling silver ? It is beautiful and I too have both silver plate as well as sterling silver

  43. Replacements Inc near Greensboro NC can identify silver patterns (and china, etc) from photos. You can set up a request list and they will notify you when pieces you want become available. Also they have an awesome tour of their facility if you are in that area anytime. The workers even take their dogs to work! They wanted me to bring in my collie one time I was there! You would love the tour. All the dogs with china, crystal, etc stacked to the ceiling.

  44. My mother & grandmother always used their silver every day and so do I. I laughed when I read the person who remembered digging in the dirt with her Mom’s silver as we did the same. My sisters and I say a piece of silver isn’t really yours until you polish it. I have many pieces handed down as do all of us and I’ve found many at antique shows including a salad set with our initial B on my pattern which is Fairfax by Towle. When we’re having a party we pool our silver and always wash it all afterwards to make sure none has inadvertently gotten thrown out. I also collect silver topped jars and things for my bedroom. I’ve been washing my silver flatware in the dishwasher for 57 years and it still looks beautiful. I’ve been using some of my “shelter in place” time polishing some of it. So enjoy your posts!

  45. I have a silver plate set that I purchased several years ago by Kirk Steiff. It looks very much like Repousse, but was obviously much less expensive. Would anyone possibly have any idea of the name of the pattern. I am passing it down to a son and I’d like him to know what it is and I’ve forgotten.

    1. I would just do a google search based on the markings and you can find all of the patterns, their names, etc.

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