Monday, November 14, 2011

The Silver Lining

What will many flea market and antique dealers tell you is a tough item to sell these days? Silver. 

No one wants to have to polish it!

I certainly couldn't see myself polishing silver, but then these two champagne buckets caught my eye. They were $10! How can you beat that for affordable elegance? (I must point out here that the champagne buckets are only silver plate and not sterling silver, but hey, I was after style on a budget.)

After that, I started to see silver in a whole new light.

Let me state at the onset of this post, that I am not suggesting you take up polishing silver knives, forks and spoons as a hobby. I am sure you have way better things to do with what little free time you have available. 

I think that you are smart to pass on any small, high maintenance items like cutlery. 

A few larger pieces however, might light up your holiday table or add some panache to your mantel display. Silver is classic. It adds sparkle and a touch of sophistication. 

And the best reason of all that I can suggest for reconsidering silver? Because it is not popular at the moment, you can often find silver for a song.

I don't imagine that I will use my two $10 silver buckets not for champagne. How often do I serve champagne after all? Instead, I will use them to dress up potted plants and bulbs.

Here, I just dropped the plastic pot in and let it catch on the sides of the silver bucket. (To water the cyclamen, I would suggest that you carefully remove it from the silver champagne bucket, water the plant, and let the it drain in the sink before re-interting it back into the silver bucket.)

Just image how great the silver bucket will look with a potted amaryllis this holiday season!

 This is an old silver pitcher that was probably used in an upscale restaurant to serve fresh ice 
water to patrons. Cost $7.

Spring flowers look great in it.

Add some white mums, evergreen boughs, a few stems of red berries and the water pitcher becomes a nice arrangement for the holiday season.

This large silver tray cost $8 (again silver plate, not sterling silver). In my house, it will probably never be perfectly polished. I like the way a bit of patina brings out the decorative pattern of the tray (or at least that is my excuse anyway). 

We often watch television in the third floor attic, and so I use trays to carry drinks or a snack to the third floor. 

A silver tray might also be useful for serving coffee in the living room after a holiday meal or perhaps might be used to group cups or glasses into an orderly presentation on a buffet table.

While I can be fussy to buy for, when it comes to perfume, I like just about anything. So for years my husband gave me perfume for Christmas. The collection of bottles began to looked messy on the top of our bureau, so I organized them in a small round tray. Silver tray $2.

I may not be willing to polish knives and forks, but I am up to polishing a fancy serving spoon in order to impart a bit of glamour into a store bought pie. I personally don't think it even matters if the spoon matches the rest of your flatware.

For those of you reluctant to do even the smallest amount of silver polishing, mercury glass makes a great stand-in and has all the same holiday sparkle.

I got these little glass vases at the local grocery store for $3.99. They came decorated with a pinecone and faux evergreen bough that was tied onto the vase with a piece of raffia.  I think that a group of these vases would look great scattered down the length of a holiday table.

Where can you find similar silver pieces? Watch for silver items at flea markets, thrift stores and even garage sales (my $2 tray was a garage sale find).


  1. So elegant and refined and very classy, each and every one of these beautiful silver photo examples. There's a holiday theme here, but silver paired with classic blooms (or eats!) looks good any time.

  2. Dobry pomysł, trochę pracy przy czyszczeniu srebra i świetny efekt.I jeszcze śliczne zdjęcia :-). Pozdrawiam

  3. Hey Jennifer,
    What a beautiful post you've written. It's really cheap in your country. You can't buy such beautiful things overhere. Everything is expensive.
    gr Marijke

  4. What a wonderful set of ideas for holiday decorating! I am decoration-challenged, so this is something I can follow along with.

    Love the photos, so gorgeous.

  5. I love silverware but do not enjoy having to maintain it. I have a few very pretty pieces that I cherish for sentimental reasons. They could probably do with polishing again, so thanks for the reminder. Beautiful photographs and those little raspberry jam biscuits are my favourite.

  6. I love the look of silver, not the work to keep it shiny, but it is nice for the holidays. Looks great with your arrangements too.

  7. I have some really cool silver pieces that I bought at an antique store in Maine over 8 yrs ago that I have never polished. Maybe I will now...! Very classy snacks!

  8. Quite lovely! Would you be revealing a state secret if you told how you take such stunning photos? Wow!

  9. beautiful! I admit I don't like to polish silver, but I don't mind it tarnished either. Love these photos and ideas.

  10. Fabulous idea! I love silver things and those flowers - oh, so gorgeous!!!

  11. What a wonderful idea! I love the idea of using the buckets and pitchers for floral arrangements. I do not know whether the flowers make the pieces look rich or the pieces make the flowers look rich. LOL! But I love it.

  12. Just wonderful ! But ... I have the same problem with Marijke ...
    Have a nice day !

  13. I have to say I got rid of my silver years ago...not that any of it was very valuable. Your post was inspiring on how to use silver in a modern way...not just sitting on a sideboard...boring. I think I'll start keeping an eye out at our local car boot! Inspiring!

  14. Oh you have inspired me. I have a jug like that and the same round perfume as can be up in a cupboard. Will get them down and give them a polish for the holidays coming. Read somewhere that silver reflects about 99 percent of light, more than gold of course, making it very prized for that reason alone...course, that's only if it's polished BG

  15. Great ideas. I love your photo of the white amaryllis.

  16. I still have a few cherished silver pieces that I patiently polish...... your ideas and purchased have inspired me to rethink uses.. all yours lovely.....

  17. I've got a couple little silver plate pitchers I used to photograph my coneflowers this summer. I'm going to need to pull them out and shine them the white mums, red berries and greenery idea. Beautiful!

  18. You've inspired me to have tea with the family this week-end.

    Beautiful shots.

  19. Finds like these are so exciting - really like the champagne buckets and I imagine they'd look perfect for decorations during the upcoming holiday season. All the flowers you've shown in the bucket look perfect and stylish. Really like that layered biscuit tray as well.

  20. Yes... I love finds like these. The flowers just look so beautiful in the silver. Those white mums are gorgeous and I love the touch of red berries too! Beautiful photos! :)


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