Stainless Steel - Dishwasher Safe
18/8, 18/10, 18/0, 13/0
First digit is Chromium; the second is Nickel. Chromium makes Steel Stainless or rust resistant. Nickel makes stainless "whiter" in color or luster, and adds strength, particularly to delicate patterns.
18/8 or 18/10 are considered the industry standard for quality. All Belk 5piece Place Settings in the Silver Department are 18/8 or 18/10.
18/0 reduces the costs significantly while only mildly affecting color. Some Expanded Sets are 18/0. They are dishwasher safe as well.
13/0 is the minimum standard to still be considered stainless. It is used in some restaurants. Even Belk Housewares (sold in boxed sets of 16-20 pieces) are usually 18/0.
Stainless is usually sold in 5-piece Place Settings consisting of :
Place / Soup Spoon. (aka. Dessert Spoon).
Although a store is not able to open a 5 piece place setting to sell individual pieces, if want to purchase a teaspoon or other individual pieces, a store sales associate can Special Order it for you. Hostess and Serving Sets are available to match the 5 piece place setting patterns. Manufacturers have different component serving pieces in these sets. As in 5 piece place setting, individual serving Pieces must also be Special Ordered. Once you decide on a China pattern, read the on-line description or as the store sales associate to identify which items make up the Hostess or Serving Sets.
Most often silver is purchased for its beauty and intricate detailing and passed down from generation to generation. It is important to remember that silver is not dishwasher safe and must be polished regularly to maintain its beauty.
By law (1905) to be called Sterling Silver in the United States the contents must be 92.5% (.925) silver or more. Usually the other 7.5% is copper. Without the copper, silver would be too soft and easily bend. .925 is also called the English Standard.
Most European Countries, besides England, use 80% (.800) silver for Sterling. But, this can not be called Sterling Silver in the United States.
Most Sterling Silver sold in the USA is also made in the USA.
Other prominent countries are Italy, Spain, France, England, and Sweden.
In the plating process, Pure Silver is "electroplated" on a metal base. The better the base metal conducts electricity, the better the quality. Base metals commonly used in both Flatware and Hollowware are copper, brass, stainless steel, nickel-silver (alpaca).