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tline3open  "Antique-Silver" items that are neither antique nor silver

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Author Topic:   "Antique-Silver" items that are neither antique nor silver

Posts: 1970
Registered: Nov 2004

iconnumber posted 11-12-2010 09:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Polly     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I've been scratching my head over the catalog copy from the website of one of the enormous home-furnishings chains. (Am I allowed to say which one?)

They're offering a "Collection" that includes flatware, a cream-and-sugar set, a ladle, napkin rings, and so forth. The items are called (for example) "Antique-Silver Salt & Pepper Shakers," but on further inquiry one learns that they're neither antique nor silver, with laughable descriptions like:

"We worked hard to re-create that same warm, timeworn patina of vintage hotel silver that’s received years of polish and care. Our sugar and creamer are inscripted with the words "sugar" and "cream," respectively. [...] Made of brass with an antique silver-plated finish."

The "Antique-Silver Ladle & Serving Set" is "Crafted of stainless steel with words or witticisms on each handle."

How is it legal to advertise these things as "antique silver" when they're not? Is there some magic in that hyphen? They omit the hyphen in the title of their "Antique Silver Flatware," but perhaps that's just a careless error.

And why would anyone buy fake antiques when real ones are so readily available? I don't get it.

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Posts: 169
Registered: Jun 2004

iconnumber posted 11-13-2010 09:11 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for taloncrest     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I do think it is tragic that they are offering new antique-style silverplated sugar and creamers when there are so many unwanted and unloved ones sitting in antique shops and thrift stores across the country. I'll bet they are not made of the same good quality base metal as the genuine hotel silver they are copying.

Edit: I just found your site. The creamer and sugar look very attractive, but to me, it resembles the look of pewter more than silver.

Wallace had a flatware collection a few years ago that was very similar to this one. Each piece of the set was a different pattern to mimic old hotel silver that was mixed. Of course, with that set, the fork was not labled "fork", nor the spoon "spoon". The labels would be cute the first time your guests saw them, but I think the humor would quickly wear thin.

[This message has been edited by taloncrest (edited 11-13-2010).]

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Paul Lemieux

Posts: 1792
Registered: Apr 2000

iconnumber posted 11-13-2010 08:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Paul Lemieux     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well, one of the many definitions of "antique" is "in an earlier style", and "silver" can mean simply the color, so there is nothing technically illegal about calling something "antique silver" if it resembles an old piece and is metallic grey in color.

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Posts: 2132
Registered: Nov 2002

iconnumber posted 11-13-2010 08:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dale     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As I have been researching table top items, one thing that sticks out is the imprecision of language used to describe things. There are a large number of items that after viewing good pictures and reading the descriptions I have no idea of what the item is made of nor who created it. The liturgical catalogs are just dreadful on this. We are assured the piece is silvertone and made by Olde World Craftsmen. Which is all meaningless. But this seems to be current commercial practice.

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