I love these sterling candlesticks I got on Ebay. I like setting the table with candles when I entertain but the kids get mesmerized and play with the melting wax leaving the coffee and dining table in a big mess! Instead of nagging them to stop playing with the wax every time we have guests, I decided to solve it at the source and keep melting wax out of reach.
I was on a quest to find candlesticks that had glass lamps on them. I remember seeing these tall candlesticks at Jo-Liza, the antique shop, so I went back to see if they had any left. I was disappointed when I saw them up close. Quality was not so good and the silverplating looked thin. I owned a set of silverplated coasters before, from India, and after one polishing, the silver all rubbed off! When searching for something on Ebay, I don't bother anymore with silverplate, only sterling silver.
At the Paris flea market--marche Vernaison in Saint Ouen.
Sterling silver is made of 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% zinc or copper added, just to make the silver hard and durable. Silverplate on the other hand is just a thin coating of silver on some other metal. Check out this site on the difference of sterling and silverplate.
A shop on the Via dei Coronari in Rome
I make sure I use the little silver that I have as often as possible. I don't believe in keeping them for display, or only using it for special occasions. Everyday is a special occasion enough so I use everything I have. Even if I love browsing antique shops, it's always ebay for me. I always seem to find nice things online.
Like these perfect candlesticks I finally stumbled on. They're usually listed by the pair so I had to win a number of auctions to complete a "set" that would fill up my dining table. On the candlestick, the part which has the silver cut-out pattern actually unscrews from the the 3 to 4" base. I can use it both ways--with the hurricane lamps, or just plain basic weighted candlesticks.
Sterling flatware being sold in sets of 8, 12 and 16 at the Paris flea market
The best part about most of the silver listed on ebay is that the owners just want to get rid of it. Because really now, who has the time to be polishing all this silver? And silver is not silver, if it's black with oxidation!
I recently discovered a much easier way of cleaning silver using baking soda and aluminum foil. It's much easier than using silver polish and rubbing forever. It really works even on the blackest, most oxidized pieces! Watch this video for an explanation of how it works. I use aluminum foil, but also just read that you can use an aluminum pan and the pan will act like the foil, saving you from using lots of foil. Caveat: cleaning this way removes the patina that's taken years to build so use only on pieces where you don't mind losing the patina. If you want to build patina quickly, this will teach you how.
After this recent dinner party, I realized I needed at least 6 more candlesticks. Yay, back to searching on ebay. I have a couple of bids up now for some really nice ones and I hope all you readers of this blog, all 6 of you, don't start bidding against me! I have other ebay collections but won't post them yet until they are complete, just in case...