If you think taking care of sterling is an arduous process, think again: Washing silver with soap and water every two to three months is the best way to care for it. Chatelaine's Antiques Collectibles Appraisals


Click Here

Chatelaine's Antiques & Appraisals Magazine > Decorative Arts > Expert Tip: Cleaning EPNS Silver

Cleaning Silver

Silverware Reading List

Silverware at Auction

Tea Caddies

Tea pots and teapots

Cleaning Metal

Old Cooking Utensils

Rare Books, Signed Editions, First Editions, Antiquarian Cook Books

Art Deco Jewelry

Collecting Bohemian Glass

Old Corkscrews (cork screws)

Collecting Bohemian Glass

Silver Cake Baskets

Cat Collectibles

Cruet Sets

Cutlery designs and patterns

Glass and Decanters

Jelly Moulds & Jelly Molds

Collecting Egg Cups

Old Irons - Laundry Collectibles

Old Kitchenware

Collecting Pot Lids

Port Decanter

Scales and Balances

Grocer's Scales

Silver hallmarks

Caring for EPNS

Silver Plating, or Plated Silver

Silver Plated Coffee and Tea Sets

Silver Plated Tableware

Gongs and Table Bells

Edwardian Table Silver

Old Chocolate and Biscuit Tins

Tortoiseshell - tortoise shell

Warming Pans

Antique Pewter

Collecting Apothecary Bottles

Bakelite Jewelry

Bottle collection

Brass Dial Clocks

Auctions specialises in California Wines! Fine $ rare Wines

Pottery, Porcelain and Ceramics

Cleaning Silver

Depression Glass

Collectible Watering Cans

Collecting Gardening Books

Lace collecting

Collecting and keeping paperweights

Collectible Salt and Pepper Shakers


Electro Plated Nickel Silver

A little soap and water keeps your silver clean

A little soap and water keeps your silver clean


 Whether you have a canteen of silver cutlery or bowls or other ornaments in EPNS, careful cleaning and regular polishing will ensure they look their best.

There are three basic types of Silver: solid or sterling silver (actually usually about 93 per cent pure, as silver is too soft to be worked by itself); Sheffield plate; and electroplated nickel silver (EPNS).

 Sheffield plate was invented in about 1742 as a cheap substitute for solid silver and was made by fusing a thin sheet of silver to of sheet of copper and rolling thin.

 EPNS, or silver plate as it is also known, replaced Sheffield plate in the mid-19th century.

 It is formed by depositing a thin layer of pure silver on a base of copper or nickel by the process of electrolysis.

 It is generally thought to have a brighter, harsher hue than Sheffield plate.

 Unlike gold and platinum, silver is highly susceptible to tarnishing, a form of metal corrosion caused by a chemical reaction with sulphur, which is present in the atmosphere and in some foods.

 Among these are fish, eggs, olives, salad dressings and green vegetables (especially peas), all of which include sulphuric gases.

 Never leave cutlery or any silver container in contact with foodstuffs for longer than necessary, and wash them as soon as possible.

 Dry silver immediately after washing to prevent it being marked by hard water salts.


 Even if you always wash and dry quickly and carefully, silver will still tarnish gradually because of the sulphur in the atmosphere.

 You can guard against this by using a cream silver polish, which cleans, polishes and protects against airborne sulphur.

Sheffield plate and EPNS require more careful handling than sterling silver, as the thin layer of silver can be worn away by over-enthusiastic cleaning.

 On the whole, however, tarnishing causes more damage than polishing can ever do.

 Modern polishes are generally less abrasive than traditional methods, and contain jeweller's rouge as well as oils and soaps to act as lubricants. Plain EPNS can be cleaned with a cream silver polish, and more ornate pieces by using a silver polish with sponge applicator.

 Extreme tarnish can be removed by painting on an electro-chemical dip (but do not immerse EPNS objects in the dip this should only be done with sterling silver).

 Never leave the dip on the surface of the silver for more than a few minutes at a time - rinse off if necessary.

 Other forms of corrosion found on silver and FPNS include verdigris and black spot. Verdigris is a green stain; it can he removed by painting on a solution of one part citric acid to five parts water.

 Black spot corrosion is caused by prolonged contact with salt and must be removed professionally by a silversmith.



Sterling Flatware Identification & Value Guide
by Tere Hagan

Silver in America 1840-1940:
A Century of Splendor

by Charles Venable

The Bulfinch Anatomy of Antique China & Silver: An Illustrated Guide to Tableware, Identifying Period, Detail, and Design
by Tim Forrest, Paul Atterbury

The Standard Encyclopedia of American Silverplate: Flatware and Hollow Ware: Identification & Value Guide
by Frances Bones, Lee Roy Fisher

Silverware of the 20th Century: The Top 250 Patterns
by Harry Rinker

An Illustrated Dictionary of Silverware
by Harold Newman

An Illustrated Dictionary of Silverware: 2,373 Entries Relating to British and North America...
by Harold Newman