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silver plate cutlery

The History Of Silver Plate

Silverplating was invented in the city of Sheffield and the craftsmanship associated with the trade has endured for centuries.

Silver plated cutlery will display that same "warm" patina appearance that silver cutlery has. Owning a set of this type of cutlery is sure to impress your friends and dinner party guest.

Our Range Of Silver Plate

Click below to check the range of cutlery available in our Showroom.

We offer a wide range of silver plated cutlery and gifts from this web site. Please check prices for cutlery patterns and gifts in silver plate here -

Click for
Silver Plated Cutlery
Showroom & Prices

Silver plate or electroplate is formed when a thin layer of pure or sterling silver is deposited electrolytically on the surface of a base metal.

EPNS - What Does That Mean?

EPNS stands for "Electro Plated Nickel Silver". Nickel Silver (sometimes stainless steel) is the base metal onto which silver is plated. Despite its name, nickel silver contains no silver at all, but is an alloy of Nickel, Zinc & Copper. A layer of pure silver is deposited electrolytically on the base metal to give a silver finish.

*EPSS stands for "Electro Plated Stainless Steel" and this is the current production style for Arthur Price of England silver plated ranges. This means that silver is plated onto a base metal of stainless steel rather than onto nickel silver. Some Hostess items from the Sheffield factory are now produced in the EPSS version.

The major practical difference between EPNS and EPSS is that EPNS is much more readily re-plateable in the future when the silver has worn down. EPSS might not be re-plateable so if you envisage that your cutlery may be suitable for re-plating at some future date, then our advice would be to opt for Sheffield Cutlery.

Common base metals include copper, brass, nickel silver - an alloy of copper, zinc and nickel - and Britannia metal - a tin alloy with 5-10% antimony.
Electroplated materials are often stamped EPNS for Electroplated Nickel Silver, or EPBM for Electroplated Britannia Metal. EPBM is unsuitable for replating.


We offer a re-plating service for cutlery and other items that you might feel are in need of a facelift. See our Re-Silver Plating Service page for details.
Silver, Copper, Brass or Nickel plating is available. EPNS items are the most common form of silver plate and this can be easily re-plated.
The factory does not re-plate if the base metal is chrome, zinc, aluminium, MAZAC (magensium-aluminium-zinc compound), mild steel (carbon Steel), pewter, wrought iron or Britannia Metal. Britannia Plate/EPBM items are also unsuitable for replating.


How Much Silver?

Sheffield Cutlery

The Sheffield Cutlery ranges are 10, 20 or 30 microns which the factory regards as 20, 30 or 40 year plate respectively with usual wear and usage.

Arthur Price Of England

The Arthur Price ranges are 10/12 microns for their 25 Year Plate or 35/40 microns for their Sovereign Range.

Elkington Cutlery

The Elkington range of EPNS is plated to a generous thickness of 35 microns. Very generally speaking, this equates to a probable lifetime of 35-50 years for pieces plated to this thickness but, of course, this time span can vary according to the level of usage and care of your silverware.

Do beware of rival manufacturers who offer silver plate to a much thinner depth of silver plating. We have seen silver plate on offer on the web to as thin as 3 microns of silver.

Should I Use A Dishwasher?

We advise against the use of dishwashers for any cutlery. Please see our FAQ Re Dishwasher Safety. No material is truly stainless and it is easy to spoil the condition and appearance of cutlery, particularly silver/silverplate cutlery, by inappropriate use of dishwashers and/or detergents.
We do have access to a re-polishing service.

Quality Of Silver Plate

Silver plate cutlery from our suppliers is a high quality material. Elkington, for example, have Quality Control registered to ISO 9002 and support internally with their own analytical and metallurgical laboratories to ensure that the tight controls on alloy composition, impurity limits, metallurgical structure, gold and silver plate standards are all maintained.

What Do The Inscriptions Mean On My Item?

Please see the following links for an explanation of the maker's marks and company information:

Many electroplaters used alphabetic symbols to identify the town of origin, the quantity of the silver used in plating and, occasionally, the date of manufacture.

The more common town symbols used by electroplaters are:
G = Glasgow
L = London
M = Manchester
S = Sheffield

The best quality is "A1" / "AI", then "A", "B", "C", and the lowest level is "D".

British makers adopted a letter code to identify the base metal and/or the different silver plating process used on their plated items.
The most common is EPNS (Electro Plated Nickel Silver) but many other symbols are used:

  • EPBM (Electro Plated Britannia Metal)
  • EPCA (Electro Plated Copper Alloy)
  • ESM (Electro Plated Silver Mounts)
  • PGS (Plated German Silver)
  • EPGS (Electro Plated German Silver)
  • BP (Britannia Plate)
  • MP (Magnetic/Magneto Plating)
  • PS (Plated Steel)
  • WMF (Wurttembergische Metallwarenfabrik)
  • WP (White Metal Plated)
  • EP (Electro Plated)
  • EP On Copper (Electro-Plated On Copper)
  • P over EP / P over MP (Prime Electro-Plate / Prime Magneto Plate
    ("Prime" referring to the Thomas Prime process of electro deposition)

Date Letters

Both Elkington & Mappin & Webb used to regularly add a letter to show the date the item was made. This system was also used by Walker & Hall. Click the links to find out the dates from the letters.

How To Tell Whether Items Are Silver

Silver Plate Price Comparisons

Sheffield Cutlery
20 Year Silver Plate
10 Microns
Sheffield Cutlery
30 Year Silver Plate
20 Microns
Sheffield Cutlery
40 Year Silver Plate
30 Microns
Arthur Price Of England
25 Year Silver Plate
12/15 Microns
Arthur Price Of England
Sovereign Silver Plate
35/40 Microns
Loose Items
Coffee Spoon
Dessert Fork
Dessert Knife
Dessert Spoon
Table Fork
Table Knife
Fish Eater (Pair)
Fish Fork
Fish Blade
Table/Serving Spoon
Soup Spoon
Tea Spoon
Full Sets
7 Piece Set
44 Piece Set
Hostess Items
Cake Knife
Butter Knife
Cheese Knife
Pie Knife
Cream Ladle
Sauce Ladle
Soup Ladle
Pair Salad Servers
Pastry Fork
Prices are per item/set and exclude postage and VAT.

Arthur Price Of England cutlery comes with a Manufacturers' Guarantee for either 25 Years or Lifetime (Sovereign Silver Plate).

Showroom & Prices