Sunday, April 7, 2019

Table Silver Etiquette

Flatware choices, whether in sterling silver, silver plate or stainless, reflect and is an extension of one’s personality. Above is a place setting using an eclectic “Hotel Pattern” flatware set, made up from the most popular patterns from Europe’s grand hotels in the early 1900’s.

Every home, no matter how modest or how young, can enjoy the luxury and warmth of silver sparkling and glowing every room, making every occasion come alive with its brilliance, and treating every guest with distinction. That's the vision everyone has of entertaining in their dream home. 

The important facts about choosing silver for entertaining are: 
What silver is perfect for the ones who’ll be using it, why, and how one can discover it among the wide and varied selection of the finest silver crafted today or antiques from yesterday. 

A silver pattern is an extension of one’s personality and all the things he or she favors. Properly chosen, it will remain dear, and grow dearer, with time and use. It will be the focal point of the tablesetting and it can be added to as needs demand. 

Sterling flatware, because of its long lasting beauty and years of practical service, is an acquisition for one’s home, and a personal gift that’s beyond price. Its heirloom potential is a built-in plus, the extraordinary gift that comes with sterling flatware besides its unfailing everyday usefulness. 
 “The Southern Belle Primer, Or why Princess Margaret will never be a Kappa Kappa Gamma” is by Maryln Schwartz. A highlight of the book is the silver zodiac and the 12 sterling silver patterns most chosen by “Southern Belles”

Projecting into one’s future, eight place settings are the usual requirement for a family. Twelve place settings will be the ultimate goal. 
  • A place setting may have six, five, four or three pieces: 
  • The three-piece place setting is one’s usual, delightful introduction to one’s very own silver and has a place knife, fork and spoon. 
  • Four-piece place settings add a salad fork. 
  • The five-piece place setting has knife, fork, salad fork, soup spoon and teaspoon. 
  • The standard place setting has six pieces: knife, fork, salad fork, soup spoon, teaspoon and butter spreader. 

Every host or hostess should know that place settings have their own distinctive way of gracing a table. Their etiquette is concerned with making the diner more comfortable and at his ease: and that should be the cardinal rule of every table one sets. 

Simply done: 
  1. Silver is arranged in the order of its use, with the pieces to be used first, farthest from the plate. 
  2. All forks, except cocktail forks, belong on the left. The cocktail fork goes on the right, always. 
  3. All knives belong on the right, too except the butter spreader and along with the knives, all spoons to be used, with the exception of the dessert spoons. 
  4. Dessert silver is brought to the table with dessert. Spoons for tea or coffee are placed on the saucer with the cup and brought to table with the cup and saucer. 
  5. The entire place setting is arranged about an inch from the edge of the table, both for comfort and appearance sake. – adapted from an article in the San Bernardino Sun, 1971

Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J Graber, is the Site Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia 

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