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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Is Used Sterling Flatware a Proper Gift?

I hope comments will be added to this post. I'll give my opinion but I'm sure there are those who will have different opinions.

My opinion is that it is OK for used sterling silver flatware to be a gift. In the spirit of full disclosure, I must say that I buy and sell used sterling flatware so I could be biased! Here are a few "talking points":
  1. Sterling pieces given as a gift should "blend" well with the recipient's existing set of flatware. If the set is new, gifts should be in at least "nearly new" condition. If the set is old, "gently used" pieces are OK.
  2. If the recipient is a stickler for specific hallmarks on the pieces, used pieces may be the only choice.
  3. If the giver is on a budget, he or she may be able to give two or more used pieces for the price of a single brand new piece.
  4. Recycling is a big deal these days. Manufacturing new pieces consumes precious energy.
  5. Make the recipient a collaborator - tell him or her where great pieces can be bought at great prices.

Before I got into this business, my mother-in-law purchased a used piece of sterling flatware for my wife and one for me every Christmas. It became somewhat of a tradition, much better than adding a new tree ornament each year. She lived to be 94 so we accumulated quite a set! All the pieces fit nicely into what we already had and the set looked as if it had been purchased at one time. This collaboration worked fine for us.

By clicking on "Comments" below, you can see posted comments and add your own questions/comments.

bride, bridal, registry


Anonymous said...

A customer in North Carolina sent us this email to be added as a comment:

I agree with what you said on your blog about used silver. A place setting of Chantilly at Belks is now about $350. Not many wedding guests are able to buy gifts of that magnitude. Besides which, it bothers me to know that I can get the same 4 pieces on ebay for less than half that. And since I don’t like matchy-watchy, for serving pieces I use spoons and forks and ladles from 4 or 5 different patterns that I have collected thru the years. Why would anyone not want to enjoy more than one pattern, particularly when there are so many pieces out there with that lovely patina of age!

You can also indicate that my husband’s mother gave our daughters old serving pieces from the family collection as college graduation presents. My girls treasure those pieces far more because they have a history.

Anonymous said...

I believe old sterling flatware is a better gift than newer ones. Especially since older flatware tends to be heavier and hold more value. Also, older pieces tend to have more character than newer designs.

Anonymous said...

I agree that it is fine to give used sterling flatware as a gift. I think it could be quite a thoughtful gesture, provided the pattern will appeal to the recipient and that information about maker, period, etc., will be provided. It is actually a visual history lesson, or can be if handled in the right way.