The same properties that make silver ideal for jewelry also cross over into silverware – its reflective brilliance, beauty and tarnish resistance. Copper is mixed with silver to toughen it for use as cutlerybowls and decorative items such as picture frames.

Sterling silver (or 925 fineness) has been the standard since the 14th century, particularly for hollowware and flatware, but sometimes less-expensive tableware is plated with a silver coating of 20 to 30 microns thick.

Source: The Silver Institute

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