Quintessential America

A Guide to Antique Silverware

Give Your Antique Silverware Collection New Life


story by lisa stamos | Photo by Jim Prisching

Download a PDF of this story.

If you like to watch old movies, you may have seen the 1954 film “Sabrina,” starring Audrey Hepburn, Humphrey Bogart, and William Holden. In the movie, there is a scene where Mr. Larrabee is unable to get the cocktail olive out of the bottom of its glass jar. Why doesn’t he have an olive spoon with a spear?

So, your grandmother gave you all of her silver, silver plate, and sterling flatware, or you buy random pieces for your collection. The uniquely shaped serving pieces are beautiful, but what are they meant for? You could enjoy them if you knew their intended use.

Every week people visit Paris Market Antiques at 200 Applebee Street in Barrington’s Ice House Mall to ask questions about how to use some of their Victorian-styled pieces. Some pieces are specific to the traditional foods of a place of origin, like the Swedish porridge spoon. Many of the bon bon servers are prominent in Belgium for Belguim chocolates.

To help you identify your antique silverware, we have put together a collection of pieces that are frequently asked about. If you have a question about one or more of your silver pieces, take a photo and text it to the store at 847-756-4174, or stop by with your silver to learn more.

Porridge Service

Meal Service

Accessories Service

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Gwendolyn Whiston McMurray is the owner of Paris Market Antiques at the Ice House Mall.

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Quintessential Americais a recurring series of stories reflecting American values and community achievement. Some will be big stories. Some will be small. They’ll all be about Americans doing what we do best — sharing, helping, living.