Choosing your Flatware
What quality should I look for in flatware? Gracious Style knows that flatware is essential in creating an elegant, well-balanced table setting. To choose the appropriate flatware it is most important to take into account your personal style, dining preferences, and of course, your budget. Gracious Style is proud to offer the highest quality of materials, styles and craftsmanship to make sure that you find the perfect accent for your tabletop.We encourage you to order samples of the collections you are interested in. Hold the flatware in your hands to make sure they are the perfect weight and size for you. All of the pieces in the setting should be well balanced from front to back. The tines on the fork should be even and well rounded and the design of all the pieces should be consistent with an overall smooth finish. Many top quality sterling silver and silverplated collections come with long-term guarantees.
What material should my flatware be made from? Gracious Style offers collections in three high-quality materials: stainless steel, silver-plated and sterling silver. Always make sure that the flatware you choose is crafted by a reputable manufacturer with actual metal alloys and/or pure silver. We offer collections ranging from the contemporary brilliance of Vera Wang sterling silver to the renowned silverplate and sterling silver from Ercuis.
What is stainless steel? Stainless steel is commonly defined as a metal alloy that contains a minimum of 10.5% chromium. To make stainless steel flatware, chromium is added to steel for strength as well as rust and stain resistance. Nickel, another metal alloy, is also added to the steel for its brilliance and lasting finish. This combination of stain resistance and luster, added to the economical price, make stainless steel the flatware of choice in many households. Perhaps most important of all, stainless steel is dishwasher safe and the easiest of all flatware collections to care for over time.
Why is stainless steel "stainless"? Compared to other metals, stainless steel is particularly resistant to rust and discoloration because the oxide film in the metal absorbs common forms of discoloration. Keep in mind, however, that while stainless steel certainly stains less, it is not completely stain proof.
What does 18/10 refer to in stainless steel flatware? This designation refers to the ratio of chromium (18%) to nickel (10%) added to the steel to make the stainless steel flatware. 18/8 is actually the most common flatware you can buy. However, all Gracious Style stainless steel flatware collections are 18/10 with a higher nickel content for increased luster and shine.
What is silverplated? Silverplated flatware refers to a metal alloy base (our Ercuis collections have a nickel silver base for greater strength) which is electro coated with a layer of pure silver. Gracious Style recommends this choice for a household that wants the look and feel of sterling silver at a considerably more affordable price. Our silverplated flatware is made with the same care as sterling and with the absolute highest quality of silver.
What is sterling silver? Sterling silver flatware collections are true heirlooms. The U.S. Government sets standards for solid silver that it most be composed of 92.5% pure silver with 7.5% of an alloy (usually copper for added strength). Any piece of flatware that meets these guidelines is stamped with the word "sterling" to ensure its authenticity. The high content of silver makes sterling the heaviest of all flatware and by far the most expensive.
What is the difference between standard and continental sizes? Standard refers the sizes of flatware commonly used with American table settings. However, for a more imposing look, there are "continental" flatware sizes (also referred to as "dinner" sizes) that are larger and heavier than the standard. In many collections, Gracious Style can special order either size.
What is the proper placement of flatware on the table? A basic 5-piece setting is laid out on the table in order of use, in an even line, one inch from the edge of the table. The knife is placed to the right of the plate with the sharp edge pointed in towards the plate. The spoons are placed to the right of the knife. Forks are placed to the left of the plate.
What is included in a five-piece setting? All Gracious Style flatware collections offer five-piece place settings that consist of the following: dinner knife, dinner fork, salad fork, soup spoon and teaspoon.
Can I order additional flatware pieces? Yes. In addition to five-piece settings, additional pieces such as butter spreaders, salad servers, cake servers and serving sets are standard items in most Gracious Style collections.
Can I order additional pieces not listed online? Yes. Gracious Style is happy to special order any additional flatware pieces you require, including fish forks and knives, demitasse spoons, carving sets, and gravy ladles. Please write us at for further information on any of our collections.
What flatware collection is right for me? The most important considerations in choosing the perfect flatware for your household are your personal style, your lifestyle and your budget. In particular, Gracious Style recommends that you keep in mind your other tableware. For example, ornate china patterns usually look best with highly detailed flatware. On the other hand, if your china and stemware are more understated, a more modern flatware might be appropriate.
How many flatware collections do I need? This is a matter of personal preference. Many people choose to have at least one casual collection for everyday use (usually stainless steel) and one formal collection for selected occasions (usually sterling or silverplated).
How do I care for stainless steel flatware? Stainless steel flatware can be washed by hand or in a dishwasher. If you prefer, you can remove the flatware after the last rinse cycle and dry it by hand to enhance durability and reduce spotting.
Are your flatware collections dishwasher safe? All Gracious Style flatware collections are dishwasher safe. However, you can remove flatware for hand drying after the last rinse cycle to enhance durability and minimize water spots.
How do I care for silverplated or sterling flatware? The best way to keep sterling and silverplated lustrous is to use it regularly to enhance the patina of the silver. For optimal care, wash silver flatware in hot water with mild soap and dry immediately afterward with a soft cloth. Do not wash sterling and stainless together as the contact of the two metals can damage the silver.To clean one or two pieces of silver, you can use a high-quality silver polish or foam (such as Hagerty's). However, to clean many pieces simultaneously, we suggest the following method: 1) Lay the flatware pieces flat on an aluminum pan, 2) Pour boiling water over the pieces to cover, 3) Add � to � cup of baking soda. The tarnish will immediately disappear.
How do I store my flatware? Gracious Style recommends that you enjoy your flatware as much as possible. However, when not in use, flatware can be stored in a kitchen drawer (designated for this use) or kept inside felt bags. Do not wrap in plastic or paper, and do not crowd pieces to avoid scratching.