How to care for your silver tea sets

How to Care for Your Silver Tea Sets

Silver tea sets have evolved much like fashion trends. While antique sets were marked by their time-specific detailing and decoration, modern ones boast a mix-and-match style. In fact, it is possible to date a silver set based on their lettering, decoration, handle style, spouts and finials.

In America, tea drinking became a social ritual after the Revolution, when afternoon tea was served on attractive tea tables in matching cups and saucers. While silver tea sets were very popular; their cups and saucers were not used, because they became too hot with the liquid. Tea was usually served with refreshments, such as sweetmeats, cakes, fruit and nuts. This informal ritual also served as a meeting platform for young men and women. At times, the ceremony extended into an evening of singing, dancing and entertainment.

This trend continued into the 19th century; wherein silver became an indication of the family’s wealth. The discovery of electroplating, however, made silver sets affordable for the middle class. Advances in machine technology also enhanced the possibility of creating highly intricate and fashionable patterns and motifs.

Silver Tea Sets: How to Care, Handle and Store

While the beauty and functionality of silver tea sets are unmatched, they require care, proper handling, cleaning and storage. Here are some useful tips:

* Always support your teapot at the bottom while holding it by the handle
* Store your dried ware in low humid, low sulphur conditions
* Use silica gel to absorb moisture in the storage compartment
* Ensure that they are free of dust, dirt and grease
* Avoid using soaps, harsh chemicals, detergents and old polishes that can create scratches
* Take professional help when unsure about cleaning techniques, such as electrochemical reduction or chemical dips.
* Use commercial polish (that are recommended by the Society of American Silversmiths) when the tarnish is heavy
* Daily-use materials can be hand-washed with phosphate-free detergents and dried immediately.
* To remove coffee or tea stains, dip a cellulose sponge in cleaners like Wright’s Silver Cream, and wipe away the stain. Rinse well with warm water.

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