Decorative Silver and Silver Serveware and Giftware
Term derives from the making of "pots" like teapots that were hollow inside. Today the term is used in both Crystal and Silver to denote anything that is not Flatware or Drinkware. Examples: Trays, Bowls, Picture Frames, Figurines...
Silver Hollowware is usually silver plated. Sometimes it is Sterling Silver. "Sheffield-plate" was an old English technique before electroplate. It is no longer used because it is too expensive. Sheets of Silver were hammered on to a Base Metal in this process.
Alternative Metals: For the last 10 - 15 years, for various reasons, "Alternative Metals" have dominated the Silver Hollowware Business. "Alternative Metals" were an alternative to silver. They are either all aluminum (Arthur Court, Biltmore) or an alloy that is mostly aluminum with other metals. (Wilton-Armetale, Nambe). These alloy collections are more functional than pure aluminum. Wilton and Nambe, for example may be used to cook with in a conventional oven or stove top and are safe to put in the freezer.
None of the Alternative Metals are Dishwasher Safe. But, they are easy care because they do not need to be polished. Alternative Metals are not Pewter, though many confuse the two. Pewter is less functional and is much softer. Few Department Stores carry Pewter-it's more of a Specialty Store business. Other known Alternative Metal Brands are Lenox, Mariposa, Villeroy & Boch, Mikasa, Reed & Barton, and others.