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Flatware & Silverware Buying Guide

An important partner to your dinnerware, utilitarian flatware and silverware also express your personal style at each meal.

Types of Flatware & Silverware

Types of Flatware & Silverware

The term silverware does not describe all eating utensils. As a craft, silversmithing dates back to 2500 BC Egypt. In the mid-18th century, silver plate was invented, and commercial production of stainless-steel flatware began in 1914. The type you choose will affect how you use and care for it.

Chopsticks

The traditional utensils for Asian foods, these pairs of tapered sticks -- commonly made from wood, bamboo, plastic, or metal -- work like tongs to pick up small pieces of food.

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Oriental Furniture
$25.00

OFN4122 Features Set includes 4 chopstick, 2 rests, 1 box Material: Ceramic Handle Material: Ceramic Number of Items Included: 7 D...imensions Overall Product Weight: 2 lbs Rests width: 3'' Chopstick: 9.5'' H x 3'' W x 2'' D Additional Piece Overall Height - Top to Bottom: 10.5'' Additional Piece Overall Width - Side to Side: 3'' Additional Piece Overall Depth - Front to Back: 2'' read more

Range Kleen
$5.70

Range Kleen Starfrit Owl Chopstick The Starfrit chopsticks are a fun way to learn to use chopsticks. With an owl head holding them... together, the sticks will not slip apart while eating. Plus, as you learn to use them, the owl can be taken off for the... read more

uxcell
$5.73

Nice dishware for your daily use to have dinner. Chinese Chopsticks are generally believed to have originated in ancient China, an...d are the traditional eating dishware. read more

uxcell
$10.72

Made of wood material in brown color. Nice dishware for your daily use to have dinner. Chinese Chopsticks are a pair of small even...-length tapered sticks, which are generally believed to have originated in ancient China, and are the traditional eating dishware. read more

Flatware Sets

The basic 20-piece flatware set includes four place settings. A 45-piece set typically includes eight place settings and five serving pieces. Sets of up to 12 place settings are available.

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Threshold
$19.99

Find Flatware at Target.com! Dress up your table with the Threshold Glen 5 Piece Flatware Set. This stainless steel set is dishwas...her safe and the shiny silver finish never needs polishing. The set includes 1 each dinner fork, dinner knife, salad fork,... read more

Oneida
$42.74

Find Flatware at Target.com! Oneida Lola 20pc set has a unique speckled Modern design with a Mirro & Oxidized Finsh to complet...e the unique design. It comes with a Lifetime Warranty. Color: Silver. read more

RiverRidge
$69.99

Find Flatware at Target.com! Complete your table setting with the RiverRidge 46-Piece Beaded Monogram Flatware Set. Made of 18/10 ...stainless steel with a delicate beaded pattern, this flatware exudes elegance. With 46 monogrammed pieces, it has... read more

Corelle Coordinates
$24.99

Find Flatware at Target.com! From Corelle Coordinates, this 20-piece flatware set features classic bar details and a sophisticated... satin finish making it a perfect complement to any dinnerware. 20-piece flatware set includes: 4 salad forks, 4 dinner... read more

Place Settings

In a standard five-piece place setting, expect a dinner fork, a slightly smaller salad fork, a dinner knife, a teaspoon, and a soup spoon. In larger sets, you may find an extra spoon and a smaller third fork for desserts or appetizers.

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Threshold
$19.99

Find Flatware at Target.com! Dress up your table with the Threshold Glen 5 Piece Flatware Set. This stainless steel set is dishwas...her safe and the shiny silver finish never needs polishing. The set includes 1 each dinner fork, dinner knife, salad fork,... read more

Oneida
$42.74

Find Flatware at Target.com! Oneida Lola 20pc set has a unique speckled Modern design with a Mirro & Oxidized Finsh to complet...e the unique design. It comes with a Lifetime Warranty. Color: Silver. read more

RiverRidge
$69.99

Find Flatware at Target.com! Complete your table setting with the RiverRidge 46-Piece Beaded Monogram Flatware Set. Made of 18/10 ...stainless steel with a delicate beaded pattern, this flatware exudes elegance. With 46 monogrammed pieces, it has... read more

Threshold
$34.99

Find Flatware at Target.com! A Threshold 20-Piece Amboise Flatware Set gives you the style and beauty of finely-crafted silverware... at a more affordable price. Sleek, smooth lines and a sturdy, ergonomic design create the perfect balance of form and... read more

Serving Utensils

Accessorize your flatware or silverware with companion serving utensils, sold as hostess or completer sets or individually. If you can't match your exact pattern, choose a simple style versatile enough to coordinate.

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WALCO
$25.76

Serving Spoon, Windsor Pattern, Material Stainless Steel, Length 8 In., Package Quantity 24

Crate and Barrel
$14.95

Serving Pieces: Greyson Ladle - Artisanal hand-forged handles with unique texture and a subtle silver patina contrast with mirror-...polished heads for striking, contemporary serving pieces. Handle finishes on these rustic, organic pieces will vary... read more

Lipper International
$6.99

Find Flatware at Target.com! Conveniently serve your salads with these 13in Lipper International Salad servers. Servers are the pe...rfect accessory for your serving bowls. Ergonomically designed, they are perfect for tossing and serving family and... read more

Cambro
$14.99

Camwear Serving Spoons won't tarnish, bend or dent like metal spoons! Cambro's Camwear Serving Spoons will deliver years of depend...able service! Made of virtually unbreakable polycarbonate 1/4 oz. 8 Salad Spoons The handle is wide enough for a secure grip Has a notched back to rest on pans Has a hole for hanging when not in use Thumb rest provides a comfortable, firm grip Can be personalized with logo or photo NSF listed Dishwasher safe 12 per case Available in assorted colors Dimensions: 8-1/8 x 1-1/2 read more

Stainless-Steel Flatware

A quick metallurgy lesson: Stainless steel is an alloy of steel for strength, chromium for rust- and stain-resistance, and nickel for shine. Top-quality flatware graded 18/10 stainless contains 18 percent chromium and 10 percent nickel. Flatware graded 18/8 and 18/0 is slightly less durable and priced accordingly, but all stainless steel is tough, affordable, and easy to care for.

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Room Essentials
$9.99

Find Flatware at Target.com! With their striped, textured handles, the utensils in the Room Essentials Circa 20 Piece Stainless St...eel Flatware Set add personality and flair to your table. Made of gleaming stainless steel, they spice up everyday meals.... read more

J.A. Henckels
$79.99

Find Flatware at Target.com! The J.A. HENCKELS INTERNATIONAL brand was established in 1985 as a separate value brand of ZWILLING J....A. HENCKELS, one of the world's leading manufacturers of high quality cutlery, flatware, cookware, cooking tools and... read more

lifetime brands
$59.99

Pattern: Gia Materials: 18/0 stainless steel Care instructions: Dishwasher safe Service for four (4) Number of pieces in set: 20 S...et includes Four (4) dinner forks Four (4) dinner knives Four (4) dinner spoons Four (4) salad forks Four (4) teaspoons read more

J.A. Henckels
$99.99

Find Flatware at Target.com! The J.A. HENCKELS INTERNATIONAL brand was established in 1985 as a separate value brand of ZWILLING J....A. HENCKELS, one of the world's leading manufacturers of high quality cutlery, flatware, cookware, cooking tools and... read more

Sterling Silverware

Called the queen of metals, silver is an alloy of 925 parts silver to 75 parts nickel or copper for durability. All sterling silver made in the United States must be marked "sterling" or "0.925". New sterling-silver services are usually sold as open stock (piece by piece), and patterns are rarely discontinued. Although it is the most expensive type, silverware will last for generations if you care for it properly. A cost-effective alternative, silver plate features layers of silver electrically applied over a base of nickel, copper, or brass. Silver plate boasts the bright finish of sterling silver, but it usually feels lighter. This form is sold in services or as open stock. If you choose a service, confirm that you can buy open-stock pieces later. Silver plate will keep its finish for 20 years or more with proper care.

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Reed & Barton
$523.14

18th Century Sterling Silver 4-Piece Flatware Place Set Large Includes: 1 place knife large, 1 place fork, 1 salad fork and 1 teas...poon. read more

Reed and Barton
$249.95

Reed & Barton "Classic Bead" 2-pc. baby set is an elegant and traditional, sterling silver favorite. Baby spoon and fork. 4 1/...2" length. Add personalization for a special touch! Please note that personalized items cannot be returned. read more

Reed and Barton
$970.00

What a wonderful, elegant wedding gift for the happy couple! Burgundy pattern from Reed & Barton captures old world elegance w...ith up-to-date flourishes. 5-piece dinner-size setting consists of: Dinner Fork 9 1/4", Dinner Knife 9 3/4", Salad Fork, Place... read more

Reed and Barton
$139.95

Francis 1st" long-handled spoon. A sterling way to commemorate the arrival or christening of a precious little one. In one of the ...country's oldest and most widely collected sterling silver flatware patterns by Reed & Barton. 5 3/4" long. read more

Product Features

Product Features

Several features will affect your flatware's durability, maintenance, and cost. Examine the pros and cons of these features and options to determine which are most important in your decision. The fact that there are so many choices in flatware and silverware might seem overwhelming, but a solution is literally at hand.

Material

Stainless-steel flatware is ideal for everyday use, while silver is suited for special occasions. Some stainless-steel flatware sports plastic, wood, or mother-of-pearl handles; flatware and silverware with gold accents or plating are typically for formal dining.

Style

The industry classifies hundreds of available patterns into design categories. Some use the terms plain, banded, floral, and angular. Others organize styles as classic, decorative, and modern. Are you drawn to a sleek, modern style, or an ornate pattern with a traditional look? Or, as with dinnerware, would you prefer two sets: one for everyday use and one to complement your fine china? Once you're down to a few favorite patterns, compare the dinner forks (the most-used pieces). If you choose carefully, you can use the same silver pattern through many years and several sets of dinnerware.

Finish

A mirror-polish finish is the most popular; a satin or matte finish resembles pewter. Two-tone finishes combine polished with satin areas or gold electroplate accents to highlight design details.

Size

The most popular size -- and the smallest -- is place-size, with knives about 9 inches long. Dinner-size flatware is slightly larger, and continental-size is the largest, with knives more than 10 inches long. Not all silver patterns are made in all sizes.

Construction

If you're buying utensils for daily use, pay attention to durability. Riveted handles can break, and decorative inlays can come loose. Note whether the pattern is forged or stamped. Stamped patterns are not as heavy as forged ones, which are heated into a single piece. Formed from three pieces, hollow-handle flatware offers excellent balance but is the lightest construction. In stainless-steel flatware, the 18/10 and 18/8 grades offer the best quality.

Purchase Considerations

Purchase Considerations

Think about long-term use when you choose a pattern or material. You may decide to have a set of casual flatware as well as "good silver" for formal occasions. In either case, if you buy quality pieces, your investment will pay off with each use. When selecting flatware or silverware, consider how you're willing to care for it, your budget, and how long you want the pieces to last.

The Foods You Serve

If you are known for serving any international or specialty cuisines, you may prefer open-stock sets and available accessories such as chopsticks, oyster forks, lobster claw crackers, cheese knives, olive forks, or demitasse spoons. Or you might just need extra dessert forks and spoons.

Cost

Stainless-steel flatware prices vary slightly by grade. Silver plate costs more than stainless steel but less than sterling silver. Packaged sets and place settings are an easy way to buy the basics, but if you plan to acquire specialty pieces or extras of just a few pieces, open stock provides more flexibility to get exactly what you want.

Care and Maintenance

Note the manufacturer's care instructions for washing -- and perhaps polishing -- the flatware or silverware you choose. Many brands suggest you wash new stainless-steel flatware by hand for a few weeks to season it, but after that it's dishwasher-safe unless it has gold trim or handles of nonmetallic material. Always wash stainless-steel flatware separate from silver plate or sterling silver to avoid staining the silver. The heat from dishwasher drying can cause sterling and silver-plate handles to loosen, and harsh detergents can dull the finish. Otherwise, don't baby your silver service. In fact, silver becomes more beautiful with use and requires polishing less. Over time, fine scratches create a satiny patina. The recessed areas of ornate pieces naturally darken, or oxidize, which emphasizes the pattern's details. If you have a large service, rotate the pieces you use for even wear. To minimize scratches and dents, store silver rolled in tarnish-proof flannel or nestled in a fitted chest lined with anti-tarnish cloth.

Quantity

Buy enough flatware place settings to match your dinnerware service. When your budget allows, purchase extras for parties, for holiday guests, and to replace pieces that may be lost or damaged. If your pattern is not designated a lifetime pattern, stock up before it's discontinued -- finding more matching pieces later can be difficult and costly.

Dining on sale

Crate and Barrel
$59.95 $29.97

Design-conscious and convenient, this contemporary flatware set in mirror-polished stainless features slender handles with hourgla...ss tapering and shapely heads with curved knife blade, ovoid spoons and stylish short-tined forks. Boxed set contains four place settings of dinner knife, dinner fork, salad fork, dinner spoon and teaspoon. - Design-conscious and convenient, this contemporary flatware set in mirror-polished stainless features slender handles with hourglass tapering and shapely heads with curved knife blade, ovoid spoons and stylish short-tined forks. Boxed set contains four place settings of dinner knife, dinner fork, salad fork, dinner spoon and teaspoon. -Stainless steel -Mirror finish -Dishwasher safe; avoid citrus-scented detergents -Made in Vietnam read more

Crate and Barrel
$239.80 $219.95

Elegant table settings strike gold with this gorgeous flatware place setting. Classic styling is elevated with an plated mirror fi...nish in 24-karat gold that's not only stunning to the eye but dishwasher-safe for modern convenience. - Elegant table settings strike gold with this gorgeous flatware place setting. Classic styling is elevated with a plated mirror finish in 24-karat gold that's not only stunning to the eye but dishwasher-safe for modern convenience. -Stainless steel -Electroplated 24K gold -Mirror finish -Metal polish or Maas r polishing gloves should not be used -Dishwasher safe; avoid citrus-scented detergents -Made in Vietnam read more

CB2
$107.80 $99.95

flatware sets: take a shine to it. Bring a new metal into the mix with the warm glow of copper. At their core, modern silhouettes ...are forged with substantial heft in 18/10 stainless steel with a mirrored copper colored finish that slicks up the table. Slender handles feel good in the hand, subtly curved at the base to reflect light. -Forged 18/10 stainless steel with copper colored titanium coating -Dishwasher-safe; avoid abrasive sponges -Set of three includes fork, knife and spoon -Made in Portugal read more

Red Vanilla
$62.49 $56.24

Add a stylish touch to your dining table with this 20-piece flatware set from Red Vanilla. With service for four, this set of 18/1...0 stainless steel flatware feature a white resin handle that is perfect for everyday use or dress up your dinner events.... read more

Red Vanilla
$48.49 $43.64

Complete your dining experience with this four piece hostess set from Red Vanilla. This four peice set includes a serving spoon, s...auce lade, pierced spoon and meat fork constructed of stainless steel and resin handles for a modern finish. Set includes:... read more

Red Vanilla
$72.49 $65.24

Add a stylish touch to your dining table with this twenty-piece flatware set from Red Vanilla. Service for four, this set of 18/10... stainless steel flatware features a black resin handle that is perfect for everyday use or to dress up your dinner... read more

Red Vanilla
$52.99 $47.69

This four-piece hostess set completes the dinging experience. The quality contemporary instruments are composed of fine 18/10 stai...nless steel with resin handles. Quantity: Four (4) pieces Dimensions: 1.5 inches high x 2.5 inches wide x 9.75 inches long... read more

Red Vanilla
$109.99 $98.99

Eat in style with this Red Vanilla Sushi Queen 24-piece flatware set. Made in Italy from quality ebony, resin and stainless steel,... this set has a dark wood-like design and is dishwasher safe for convenience. With forks, knives, soup spoons and tea... read more

Red Vanilla
$45.99 $41.39

You'll love the fresh, sophisticated green and white polka dot pattern of this Red Vanilla Place setting. This set is perfect to a...dd a contemporary feel to your home that your friends and family will love. Color: White dots and green Material:... read more

Global
$84.99 $76.49

Designed with a generous handle to fit snug in all hands, this set offers complete service for 8. Includes dinner forks, dessert s...poons, salad forks, teaspoons and dinner knifes. All this flatware is dishwasher safe and made from high quality 18/10... read more

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