The left side is oxidized with years of neglect. The right side is polished. Polishing silver plate depends on the condition of the plating.
In this example, the silver plating was in excellent condition considering it is about 130 years old.
Polishing demitasse spoons
These sterling silver demitasse spoons arrived black with tarnish. They were polished to restore their silver appearance.
When I polish silver I am using a polishing machine with a buff and polishing compound. This is dirty and dangerous job. Definitely not something you can do yourself.
Polishing serving pieces
This sterling silver baby spoon and sterling silver ladle were dull and tarnished. Polished they look fabulous!
Polishing forks, knives, spoons and serving pieces is done with a polishing machine that rotates at 3750 RPM using a flannel buff with polishing compound. This polished finish is far superior to what can be done by hand.
Polishing silver plate for "shabby chic"
This pierced silverplate serving dish was very discolored and tarnished. I knew that the silver plating was very worn, but decided to polish it anyway to see how it looked. I had nothing to loose. The plate was free. If you are willing to live with some wear, pits or imperfections worn silverplate can add lots of character to your table with a "shabby chic" aesthetic. It really depends on your expectations and your pocketbook.
Cigarette Case - Creative Silver Repurpose
This sterling silver cigarette case was black with tarnish and neglected for decades because no one in my family smoked cigarettes. Then I realized it might be perfect as a business card holder. It fits my Moo business cards perfectly. The Berman Fine Silver cards fit on one side. The business cards for my artwork fit in the other side.