I like silver but you have to polish it...It's an understandable complaint. After all, silver tarnishes, and requires some effort to keep it looking its best. But there are two problems with this thought process. The first is that, frankly, everything in your house requires cleaning and maintenance. You have to polish your car. Did it stop you buying it? What about the windows in your house? Did you decide that the upkeep wasn't worth the effort, so opened your home to the elements?
Look how beautiful. Isn't it worth a bit of upkeep to own such a thing?
This article is the first of a series I would like to call "Silver in the Modern Home". It's not about cleaning silver. It's about the wonderful way in which this beautiful metal can slip in to your home, and your heart. After all, silver is about indulgence, presteige, luxury and opulence. Dining on silver, drinking from silver, using silver eating utensils- all these things bring a little bit of opulence to your every day. Why not use a 17th century silver treffid spoon to eat your cornflakes? Why not serve orange juice from a Victorian silver and crystal claret jug? You see, we all have it the wrong way around. People don't have "Sunday Best" clothes anymore, so why have "best" cutlery and tableware? If you have it, and lets be honest, it wasn't cheap, why not use it every day? Beautiful things enrich our lives. We are surrounded by visual media and art. In the computer age this is even more true than it has been previously. And so instead of hiding our best things away in dusty cupboards and feeling guilty that it gets dirty between uses, just use it! Use it every day, don't just save it up for your guests.
And what's this special secret I mentioned earlier? Well, quite simply, if you use your silver every day, you really never need to polish it! If it's in continuous use, being cleaned and put away just like everything else you have and use regularly, it never has the chance to tarnish. When you use a china plate you wash it, right? Well, when you're washing it you are, in fact, polishing it. If the plate is now made of silver then exactly the same thing applies. You haven't created more work, you've just moved the same work from one object to another.
You've done something else too. By injecting a bit of elegance and style in to the mundane activities in your day you've enriched your lifestyle. Day by day you've increased your exposure to beautiful things, refined and enhanced your eye, and lived in a better world than you would have with paper cups and plates...
Next time: Old Object, Contemporary habit. What do we use silver for?