Just to add a bit to what Peter said. although the meaning is clear
enough, trade practices (and by that I mean retail trade, not the
production side) in England and English speaking nations (and no
doubt elsewhere) have exploited several oportunities to confuse the
Cutlery may be described as EPNS, for electroplated nickel silver,
which usually means that the plating is silver, even though the name
doesn’t specify silver. All fine. But when the letters EPNS are
stamped along the stem of a spoon, each letter within its own shield
shape, it’s clearly intended to look somewhat like a set of
Then we have the term “silver plate”, which refers equally to high
value solid silver plates, dishes and trays, but also to cheaper
wares that are silver plated.
Sheffield plate, or Sheffield silver, is an interesting case, in
that it never was intended to deceive. The silver layer is
relatively thick, and the items were, by and large, made by "proper"
silversmiths using traditional techniques. Sheffield plate is now
collected in its own right. Strangely today it would probably be
more expensive to use Sheffield plate than solid silver.
Then there’s the case of “Brittania metal”, some sort of low melting
casting alloy, used especially for statuettes, clearly intended to
be confused with Brittania grade silver.
Speaking of statuettes, my real pet hate of this day and age is
"cold cast bronze", which is resin coloured to look like bronze.
Some of them are very good, but I’m always surprised that the term is
Then there’s the plastic pipe that’s made to look like copper, and
copper earthing strap that’s mainly coloured plastic, but that’s a
whole other rant!
Kevin (NW England, UK)