In the spirit of getting ready for Thanksgiving…here’s sage advice about that silver in your cabinet…
Even if it wasn’t Grandma’s…it is now! So use it!
Thrift, consignment, even local junk shops are full of the stuff: vases, trophies, bowls. It all looks great full of flowers and set on a sideboard, on top of a bookcase or, best of all, in the center of the dinner table. Or, forget the flowers, just shined and looking regal.
Why not use what you have – don’t be afraid of it and leave it on the shelf. In the case of silver, there are usually two hang-ups: it’s tarnished and looks bad, or it’s too good and shouldn’t be out. THEN WHY HAVE IT?
On the tarnish front: many designers love the patina of some tarnish – so don’t sweat it, unless you live in a grand mansion and feel you have to keep up with the scale of the house. But if you hate the tarnished look and don’t have silver polish, don’t worry, I bet you have toothpaste somewhere around. Works like a charm – on your silver, silver plate, and your kids’ bicuspids.
What about, “it’s too good and shouldn’t be out” – obviously there are some pieces that fit that bill — if you live at Mount Vernon. But more often, folks end up afraid of silver because it was Gramma’s or passed down from, well, we’re not sure, but it was someone’s…
So what’s the deal, did Gramma do the same — leave it on the shelf because it was her Gramma’s? So did any Gramma ever use it?? Hey, live a little – you may be the FIRST to use your antique silver!
Some of the loveliest simple dinner tables, or cabins, or houses have a few great pieces of silver or silver plate around. It adds elegance in a wonderfully understated way (unless you go overboard – which you won’t.). I made a film one time in Alaska and remember walking into a little cabin in who-knows-where, Alaska – (I’d never know how to get back there) – where a guy lived by himself with his sled dogs. This gentleman loved having visitors – and it showed. There on his kitchen table (aka the dinner table): a set of silver candelabra. Tarnished and looking as regal as ever – they’d been his Gramma’s.