There’s something special about carefully setting out your best silverware set on your dining table when you’re expecting guests for supper — a fact that’s especially true during the holiday season. With Thanksgiving and Christmas fast approaching, we’ve begun to think about all those little finishing touches that will make our feasts and festivities that much merrier.
But who’s to say we have to wait? If you ask us, life’s too short to only use our best utensils for company. If you feel like we do and want to put your best flatware forward on a more regular basis, we’ve got you covered. Below, find seven stellar silverware sets you can use whenever the fancy strikes!
What is the best silverware?
The best cutlery for daily use is typically made of stainless steel. Though silverware can be crafted from metals such as aluminum, these tend to rust and are not as durable as the old steel standbys. Higher-end options may also be made from more precious metals, such as gold and sterling silver, but prices for 925 silver utensils (those that are made from at least 92.5 percent real silver) can start from $150 for a single spoon!
Those shopping for stainless steel cutlery will likely come across the following descriptions: stainless steel 18/0, stainless steel 18/8, and stainless steel 18/10. The first number depicts the percentage of chrome found in the product, while the second number represents the percentage of nickel. For a heavy-duty, rust-free, stainless steel product with plenty of corrosion resistance, opt for the highest level of nickel — 18/10.
When it comes to cutlery, most collections are comprised of your basic dinner forks, spoons, and knives. Fully comprehensive sets might also include separate forks, spoons, and knives for different meal courses, as well as serving utensils, such as ladles or butter knives.
How to Place Silverware
While you can, of course, place your eating utensils any which way you like, be it on the plate, wrapped in a napkin, or upright in a glass, fans of proper protocol can follow these five easy steps below from the etiquette gurus over at The Emily Post Institute to create a table placement that will rival a royal butler’s.
- Forks go to the left of the plate, with knives and spoons on the right.
- Knives are placed with the blade facing the plate.
- Eating utensils should be placed in order of use, working from the outside in
- Only set out the utensils that will be used (i.e., there’s no need for a dessert fork if you’re serving chocolate mousse).
- Dessert spoon and dessert forks should be placed on the table horizontally at the top of the plate, with the spoon on top and the fork underneath. The spoon head should be angled toward the left, while fork prongs should face the right.
To recap, if you’re serving soup, salad, a main course, and cake — in that order — the table setting, from left to right, would go: salad fork, dinner fork, plate, dessert spoon (placed horizontally above the plate), dessert fork (placed underneath the dessert spoon), dinner knife, salad knife, and soup spoon.
To completely floor your guests, you can also set a small bread plate above the forks with a butter knife resting diagonally across its width. Glassware should go above the knives on the righthand side.
How to Polish Silverware at Home
To ensure your cutlery stays in tip-top shape, dry items well after washing. You should also give them a quick polish when taking them out of the dishwasher and before putting them away. To get them extra sparkly, you can soak them in a basin of water and white vinegar mixture (one part vinegar to eight parts hot water) every few months. Leave them in the solvent for a full 10 minutes before giving them a quick rinse under the tap. To finish them off, wipe them well with a clean lint-free dish towel.
Before you get to cleaning, however, you’ll need to find your perfect set. We’ve selected 12 of the most stylish, durable cutlery collections on the market to suit every style, requirement, and budget. Keep scrolling for Woman’s World’s picks for the best silverware sets.
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As is typical of Kate Spade products, this Fair Harbor flatware set is plenty durable thanks to its 18/10 stainless steel construction. We mostly love it, however, for its chic and minimalistic design, which features clean lines that aren’t too “in your face.”
Promising review: “I absolutely love the way [this set] looks: It’s heavy, [and has a] high-quality feel and ease of care. Does great in the dishwasher and [you] can’t beat the price.”
Minimalists everywhere will have an “a-ha!” moment as soon as they lay eyes on this Ginkgo simple flatware set. With cutlery for eight people and four extra serving utensils (solid serving spoon, pierced serving spoon, meat fork, and sauce ladle) this sophisticated set has a black finish to appeal to lovers of understated design. It’s also made from a mix of sturdy 18/10 stainless steel and titanium oxide, so you can safely pop it in the dishwasher after use.
Mediterranean design has long been one of the most coveted interior styles around the world, and this Italian Collection Luxor flatware set is prime example of why. Made from heavy-duty 18/10 stainless steel with detailed square gold and silver blocks with a square-edged handles, this four-piece set comes in a gift box that’s perfect for stowing it away — or presenting to a loved one.
Architecture fans will love the unique, twisty handles and fluid drop edges of this affordable-yet-strong stainless steel 20-piece cutlery set from Gourmet Settings. Featuring a super-shiny, lustrous finish that’s tarnish-resistant and dishwasher safe, this handy collection will feed parties of up to four. Its low price means that you can afford to buy two, however, should you need additional settings. There’s a 50-year manufacturer’s warranty to boot.
Promising review: “Love love love this set. Really solid and weighty. Different from the norm. Quality is excellent. Visitors say how nice it is. I would recommend every time.“
For a 20-piece stainless steel silverware set on the cheap, check out Cambridge’s Silversmiths Logan set, which serves four people. The funky rainbow mirror design is sure to delight your guests, and its aurora effect means the cutlery will never need to be polished. These dinner and salad forks, knives, spoons, and teaspoons are all dishwasher safe, and buyers report that they’re sturdy, heavy, and “even more beautiful in person” — all for less than $2 per piece!
Promising review: “I loved the set the first time I saw it online…and it is even more beautiful in person. VERY nice quality and I highly recommend this set of flatware.”
Oneida’s Michelangelo 46-piece flatware set could fit right into a royal setting with its superior metal craftsmanship and antique look. Comprised of eight separate serving sets plus six convenient serving utensils, this collection comes with a lifetime manufacturer’s guarantee, making it a seriously stellar investment.
Promising review: “I’ve had my set for 38 years. Still looks like new. I love that it shines beautifully without any polishing like silver. Great quality, elegant, beautiful detail, nice weight. You will love it!”
If you’re looking to invest in silverware that will never go out of style or lose its value, you might want to consider shelling out for this Christofle Mood 24-piece collection. Complete with a stainless steel, egg-shaped container that provides effortless storage, this set offers up place settings for up to six people. It also comes equipped with care instructions from Christofle to ensure your set always stays as good as new.
Promising review: “Beautiful and elegant. Perfect for every ocasion. I want another one to complete 12 persons. 100% recommended.”