Society of American Silversmiths
Are You Afraid of Collecting Silver?
© Jeffrey Herman

Are you a silver lover? Do you own sterling flatware, a tea set, or a simple flower vase? If you do, you know the inherent beauty of the material and its functionality. Yet, if silver isn't gracing your table, what reservations do you have about collecting it? Perhaps you've heard that once you buy silver, you'll be polishing it three times a day. Don't let this misconception dissuade you from owning what you would truly like to collect.

In fact, you'll spend more time cleaning, oiling, and waxing your furniture than you ever will maintaining your silver!

My wife and I live with two dogs and a cat in a very dusty home with a damp basement, which is 75 feet from busy train tracks and just a few blocks from Interstate 95. Oh, and I almost forgot--we also live about two miles from the ocean. If this doesn't sound like a haven for tarnish to wreak havoc on silver, I don't know what does. Curiously, though, the few pieces of silver we have collected stand up to these elements. I polished our nice sterling Arts & Crafts serving fork with 3M's Tarni-Shield(TM) silver polish back in November of 1996, just to see how well it would protect. As I write this newsletter, it's eight months later, and, not surprisingly, the fork is in absolutely pristine condition, even after minor handling. This piece has been sitting naked on a china cabinet shelf, not wrapped in a flatware roll inside a safe.

Silver ages gracefully if properly maintained. If you use your flatware for everyday dining, polishing need not be a concern, as long as it's washed afterwards. If your flatware is used only occasionally, polishing with 3M's Tarni-Shield, and storing the pieces in a flannel flatware roll or lined chest with a 3M Anti-Tarnish strip, will give added protection.

It doesn't sound like you'll be scrubbing your fingers to the bone, does it? Do you enjoy entertaining? Have you shopped for an accent piece for your dining room table, all the while suspecting that the silver vase or candelabra you really wanted would probably take hours to polish? This is yet another misconception. If the piece is already in good condition, applying non-toxic, pleasant-smelling Tarni-Shield(TM) will keep it virtually tarnish-free for months, if not years, depending on how frequently it's handled. Renaissance® wax can be used for longer-lasting protection.

The belief that you'll have to polish your silver prior to each function simply isn't true, as long as you follow the directions on our Silver Care page.

If you ever have reservations about purchasing silver, please feel free to call SAS with your concerns. We can also help you find that special piece you've been looking for through our Artisan Referral Service and our database of available items for immediate purchase. Even if you require mass-produced pieces, see us first.


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