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Help with pennyweight markings

I bought a box of silverplated flatware. Many of the pieces have a pennyweight specified (“warranted 16 dwt”). Is that the weight of the silverplate or of the whole utensil? If it’s the silver, what does that 16 pennyweight relate to? Each piece? Each set? The bath they were plated in?

There are 20 pennyweight per troy ounce, so your 16 dwt refers to the amount of pure silver used to plate a given number of pieces (generally accepted to be 12). Therefore, for each dozen forks, 4/5 of an ounce of silver was used to plate them. A manufacturer might have had the same pattern available in a variety of depth of the silver plating. It is roughly comparable to the usage of “triple plate” or “quadruple plate.” These markings are not a very reliable indicator of quality, as their use varied so much between different manufacturers -for example, some may have used it to signify the amount of silver used to coat 12 or 24 spoons etc… or perhaps more.


Lisa

thank you sir.