A few months ago, when I graduated from college and began shopping for stuff for my new apartment, I started to take notice of household items belonging to my parents. I found myself admiring their counter stools and serving platters — and even their silverware.
I looked up the Christofle stainless-steel collection that my parents had received for their wedding (they decided against registering for sterling flatware, which they would have to polish). I learned that Christofle manufactured silverware for members of French royalty like King Louis-Phillipe and Napoleon III. The Perles collection, which is what my parents have, is likened on the company’s website to “the contours of an elegant pearl necklace,” using Louis XVI–style beading introduced in 1876. But the main takeaway from my research was the price — $196 for a single five-piece set for a single person.
Not that I was actually thinking about buying fine silverware as a 22-year-old. But my mom, my most trusted confidante in addition to being a kitchenware expert, let me in on a little secret: She had found a near-identical version on Amazon, beaded detail and all. Except in this case you can get a set of 12 dinner forks for less than $15; ditto the dinner knives and dinner spoons. My mother says that she’ll buy the much-less-expensive version to supplement when she has overflow company.
And for me, it turns out, they’re the perfect size and weight for everyday use — a durable, dishwasher-safe stainless steel that makes me feel a little fancy while I’m eating my Chipotle. They’re not as heavy or substantial as the Christofle; each piece is not personally made by a silversmith in Normandy, France. But they’ve made me appreciate the idea of elegant flatware. (I also appreciate that the Winco brand name, unlike Christofle, is not printed on the pieces.) I now know I would love to invest in a timeless, storied collection of my own one day, possibly even one you would have to polish.
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