Why is silver used so often for tableware?
Silver is used in tableware because of its whitish luster and preciousness. It is not really the most practical metal for cutlery. It tarnishes slowly by reacting with sulfur pollutants, which are present in the air in trace amounts. Pure silver is also very soft because it allows slippage to occur easily. To harden tableware, silver is alloyed with about 5% copper. The resulting material is much harder than either of the pure metals. Jewelry silver has even more copper; up to about 20%.