The 10 Best Flatware

Updated June 09, 2017 by Ezra Glenn

Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 39 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. We're not saying you have to make a huge investment in silverware, but we'd like to make it easier for you to upgrade from that plastic cutlery you've been reusing lately. Add a touch of elegance to your next dinner party with something from our selection of the best flatware, or just use them to class up your TV dinner; it's up to you. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best flatware on Amazon.

10. Gorham Biscayne

The 65-Piece Gorham Biscayne set has round-bodied forks and large, curvy knives that give it a sleek, contemporary feel. They are tarnish-resistant and dishwasher safe for easy maintenance, but the knives are a bit on the dull side.
  • hammered handle finish
  • includes five serving utensils
  • feel a bit lightweight
Brand Gorham
Model 818552
Weight 9.4 pounds
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

9. International Silver Arabesque Frost

The International Silver Arabesque Frost is a great choice for people on a tight budget who still want a durable set that adds a bit of flair to their table settings. It's difficult to find another set of this quality for a comparable price.
  • elegant handle design
  • resist bending well
  • edges are a bit rough and rust-prone
Brand International Silver
Model 5114325
Weight 2.7 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

8. Towle Living Wave

The Towle Living Wave has a heat-treated 18/0 stainless steel construction that is dishwasher safe, and comes in at an affordable price. It has a mirrored finish and a contemporary flared handle design with bias-cut bases for a touch of elegance.
  • available with 4 or 8 place settings
  • never need to be polished
  • knives tend to develop rust spots
Brand Towle Living
Model 5005925
Weight 8.3 pounds
Rating 3.7 / 5.0

7. Wallace Antique Baroque Set

For lovers of what some might consider over-the-top luxury, the Wallace Antique Baroque Set has an elegant feel that will enhance any table-scape, with a gold-plated finish and ornate handles. It comes with 12 full place settings and a hostess set.
  • complements gold-trimmed dinnerware
  • very elaborately sculpted
  • must be hand washed
Brand Wallace
Model 5057901
Weight 11.1 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

6. Royal 20-Piece

The Royal 20-Piece has wavy handles that end in an angled edge, giving them all an artful look that will be a conversation-starter at any dinner party. It comes with enough place settings for a family of five, and strikes a nice balance between playfulness and elegance.
  • high-gloss mirrored finish
  • comes packed in a handsome gift box
  • teaspoons are a bit too small
Brand Royal
Model RYL-20PC-B
Weight 6.2 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

5. Gourmet Settings Treble Clef

If you are after something with a more whimsical feel, the Gourmet Settings Treble Clef fits the bill. It's a 20-piece set with service for 4, and the organically formed handles finish in a charming curled tip reminiscent of the symbol representing musical pitch.
  • high nickel content for durability
  • lovely blackened handle finish
  • teaspoons are a bit too large
Brand Gourmet Settings
Model 34-350
Weight 4.4 pounds
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

4. Royal Albert Old Country Roses

The 65-piece Royal Albert Old Country Roses set is perfect for formal settings with its gold accents and embossed roses overlaid on the quality stainless steel construction. It's a good choice for pairing with your fine china for classy dinner parties.
  • looks fancy without being gaudy
  • gold accents won't chip off
  • prone to water spotting
Brand Royal Albert
Model 8706026319
Weight 8.8 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

3. Bruntmor Crux Royal

The Bruntmor Crux Royal has a luxurious mirrored finish that holds its shine well without needing to be polished and that won't dull over time. It's dishwasher-safe for easy and convenient cleaning after use, and is made of durable 18/10 stainless steel.
  • suitable for formal or everyday use
  • timeless banded handle design
  • knives have evenly serrated edges
Brand Bruntmor
Weight 7.1 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

2. Lenox French Perle

The Lenox French Perle includes twelve 5-piece settings and a 5-piece hosting set with a beautiful slotted spoon and a gracefully curved serving fork. All of the dinner pieces have delicate beaded details along the edges of their handles.
  • extra large dinner forks
  • pieces feel sturdy in the hand
  • great value given the quality
Brand Lenox
Model 829739
Weight 11.2 pounds
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

1. Oneida Mooncrest Set

The Oneida Mooncrest Set has a smooth, streamlined look that's elegant but not showy. With complete settings for 12, each of its 65 pieces boasts a gracefully curved design with a tapered handle that rests comfortably in the hand.
  • made from corrosion-resistant steel
  • includes a fluted sugar spoon
  • backed by a lifetime warranty
Brand Oneida
Model 2865045A
Weight 6 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

History Of The Spoon

It is probable that spoons are the oldest of man's eating utensils. This stems from the fact that forks and knives must be fashioned in some manner, whereas spoons of some form or another can be found in nature. Items such as seashells and certain shaped stones are examples of natural spoons that can be used without having to be first worked in some manner.

The earliest natural and man made spoons didn't have handles, but even handled versions are significantly older than forks and knives designed for table use. Archeological evidence points to handled spoons being used in Egyptian religious ceremonies as far back as 1000 BCE. At the time, handles were most likely made from bone, slate, wood, or ivory depending on the intended application of the spoon. Wood was the most common handle material in spoons designed for food consumption.

In the Greek empire, some time around the 4th or 5th century BCE, spoons with handles made of bronze or silver starting appearing. These handle materials become more commonplace among the wealthy that bone or slate and stayed that way through the Middle Ages. In England, the first evidence of spoons comes from 1259, when they were counted as inventory in King Edward I's wardrobe. In the Middle Ages, spoons were often used in ornate ceremonies, such as the coronation of British kings and christenings.

The form of spoons changed over time before taking the modern form as we know them today some time in the 18th century.

History Of The Knife

Knives have been used as weapons and eating tools since prehistoric times, but knives specifically designed for table use came much later. The 1600s marked the beginning of the Bourbon Dynasty in France and was also the time that knives became domesticated as the eating utensils we known today.

Before this time, most knives were as sharp as possible because of their dual purpose as weapons. This made them a threat at tables both to others and oneself. This was also a time period when alcoholic beverages, such as wine and ale, were the primary forms of hydration. It was not uncommon for someone to cause a serious injury to themselves by being overly inebriated and stabbing a sharp and pointy knife into their mouth while eating. Over inebriation also caused numerous unprovoked altercations.

As forks started to gain in popularity during the Middle Ages, sharp knives were actually outlawed at the table by King Louis XIV in 1669. During this time, sharp knives at the table were replaced by the rounded, blunt knives we often use today, unless eating steak.

Asian cultures moved away from the overly sharp weapon-like knives at the table much earlier than western societies. It is believed this happened for two reasons. In 400 CE China there was a severe shortage of resources. To save on fuel, they began to chop their food into small pieces before cooking so it could be cooked quicker. This meant knives were no longer needed at the table.

There is also a famous saying by Confucius, which is believed to have also influenced the Asian culture of not using knives at the dinner table even when resources became plentiful again. He said, "The honourable and upright man keeps well away from both the slaughterhouse and the kitchen. And he allows no knives on his table." He was a vegetarian and believed sharp weapons at the table reminded eaters of the slaughter of animals. He also believed they evoked a sense of warfare.

History Of The Fork

Forks have been used in cooking applications since ancient times, but for a long time they were not utilized as table flatware. The earliest archeological evidence of forks at the table points to Ancient Egypt. There is also some evidence of their use by the people of the Qijia culture, which was around from 2400 to 1900 BCE.

The earliest known evidence of forks in western cultures comes from Venice in the 11th century. There is a story from a prominent wedding of the time that says Theodora Anna Doukaina, a Byzantine princess, brought golden forks as part of her dowry when she wed Domenico Selvo, who was the 31st Doge of Venice. What started as an innocent gift actually turned into a scandal as the Venetians saw them as a slight against God. St. Peter Damian, a Benedictine monk of the time is quoted as saying "God in his wisdom has provided man with natural forks – his fingers. Therefore it is an insult to Him to substitute artificial metallic forks for them when eating."

The princess actually died of a mysterious disease just a couple of years after the wedding and it was believed at the time that this was because of her vanity and pride, which illustrated by her use of forks instead of fingers for eating. This created a negative stigma that was attached to forks for a long period after her death.

In the 16th century, forks finally began to see some measure of popularity as an eating utensil. Catherine de Medici, an Italian noblewoman of the time and popular trend setter, used forks regularly when dining. After her marriage to King Henry II of France, the use of forks for dining began to proliferate French tables, though it was still generally a habit practiced solely by the upper class.

Over time, as the concepts surrounding hygiene changed, more and more people switched to using forks instead of eating with their hands. By the 1700s, forks had become commonplace among the elite and many carried their own private flatware set. In the first Industrial Revolution the use of forks finally spread to the middle and lower classes.

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Last updated on June 09, 2017 by Ezra Glenn

Ezra is a writer, photographer, creative producer, designer, and record label-operator from New York City. He's traveled around the world and ended up back where he started, though he's constantly threatening to leave again.

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