Who doesn’t want to drink their mint julep in a silver cup? But the reality is that most of our silver cups are probably silver-plated.
Recently I took a couple of silver plated mint julep cups and an old ice bucket to be resilvered. I had purchased them in Natchitoches at an antique store. The shop owner studied the pieces and said it would be best to buy new mint julep cups.
He also went on to say that the reason he felt I needed new cups was that the brass was showing through on the inside of the cups. He felt that they would be dangerous to use for drinking.
The same was true for my ice bucket. Thank goodness they were all inexpensive finds.
Many silver-plated items have a base of copper, brass or stainless steel. If the base metal starts showing, it could leach into your drink or food.
If you see a gold color or a darkened silver color on the inside of a silver-plated container or the surface of a silver-plated platter, you may want to discontinue using the item for food or drink. That is when you need to repurpose those containers for other uses.
Good ways to repurpose silver-plated items that no longer seem safe are:
- Mint julep cups make great vases for fresh flowers. The best part is they are low, so they are perfect running down the length of the dinner table or on a end table in the living room.
- Mint juleps cups can be used to house a candle. Tealights and votives are perfect. With the addition of sand, tapers can also be used.
- Mint julep cups make a sophisticated dice cup.
- Mint julep cups, fully lined with waxed paper, are a great way to serve french fries, cheese sticks, bread sticks or other long then foods.
- Ice buckets are great for chilling bottles of wine or champagne.
- Ice buckets filled with sand make great butt cans for those who smoke.
- Ice buckets can be used as vases for fresh flowers.
- Ice buckets lined with a cloth napkin are perfect to hold silverware on a buffet.
- Ice buckets in the bathroom can house a back-up roll of toilet paper.
- Ice buckets can be used to hold several linen guest towels for use in the powder room.
- Old silver platters are perfect for holding perfume and a linen covered tissue box in the bath.
- Silver platters are great to use as the base for an arrangement of candles or decorative objects in the center of the coffee table or dining table.
- Small silver platters are a great place for men to empty their pockets at the end of the day.
- A small silver tray by the kitchen sink is a wonderful place to keep jewelry while washing dishes.
- Old round silver trays are perfect for using under pretty pots in the house. Maybe the “pot” could be a unused old silver ice bucket.
- A large silver platter might make a nice boot tray by the backdoor.
Of course, if it is a platter or something silver-plated that you want to salvage, take it to a silversmith for repair and advice. The best way to keep silver pristine is to carefully use it often. Of course, if your silver pieces are sterling or fine silver then you needn’t worry.