I entered the elegant world of sterling silver when I became a bride in my mid-twenties. We were given his grandmother’s heavy box of sterling, but there was a problem. Over the years, many pieces had disappeared. With the help and guidance of a woman who was like my second mother, I began the search for pieces of this obsolete pattern.My first stop was Jean’s Silversmiths in New York City. I had no idea what to expect so I arrived when they opened. I wanted to have plenty of time to look around before going to an matinee on Broadway.
When they buzzed me into the shop, I learned my first important lesson about sterling. Every piece I saw on the shelves and tucked into drawers was tarnished. Why? Traffic is heavy in Manhattan. All the pollution can damage the surface and patina of a silver piece. That thin level of tarnish helped to protect the pieces during their short layover in the shop. Of course, everything is polished to perfection before it’s delivered to a buyer.
I wish I had known. You see, I was wearing a beautiful white linen suit. I’m afraid I had to sprint back to the hotel to change before I went to the theater.
It was a funny beginning to a lifelong adventure with silver. Its beauty, history and romance captured my imagination so there was no question what the unifying theme of my cozy mystery series: Sterling Silver.
To feature it in the stories, there might be an elegant dining experience, discovery of an unusual piece, an appraisal… or a murder!