Fusing: Coming or joining metals through heat, causing the metals to melt and join.
Fine Silver: The element silver; 99.9% fine or better. Too soft for general use, fine silver is confined to making
bullion bars and for use in international commodities trading.
Fineness: The proportion of pure silver in an item made of an alloy. Sterling fineness is 925 (925 parts pure silver
to 75 parts other metals).
Final Finish: The last hand polishing step in the silver making process which results in a bright mirror or smooth
Filled: Silver items, such as knife handles and candlesticks, that have a cavity filled with
plaster, cement or other substance to add weight and stability.
Filigree: A type of decoration created by the use of fine wires which are formed and soldered
into a delicate and intricate design.
Figural Flatware: Any flatware item with a three
dimensional figure on the handle.
Feather Edge: A form of bright cut engraving done with diagonal lines along the
edge of an item. First seen as a decorative element on flatware around 1700.
Festoon: A repeating garland or drapery motif.
Feeding Tube: An S-shaped tube to be used by an invalid to suck food from a bowl. The tube has a strainer on
one end to keep out large bits of food.
Fancy-back Spoon: A spoon with a decorative motif on the reverse side of the bowl. Shells
and scroll motifs were most common. Popular in the mid-18th century, they saw a revival
in the early 1900's. See also Bird-Back, Picture-Back, and Shell-Back spoons.
Flagon: A tall serving vessel with a handle and a hinged lid, much like an elongated tankard.
Fire Marks: Firescale or firestain. It is a purple discoloration to sterling when oxygen penetrates the outer
surface of an object during brazing, oxidizing the copper content. The surface copper and fire marks are removed
with acids, but fire marks can be under the surface and show up after years of polishing. Fire marks need to be
Finishing: The general term applied to the various processes of polishing silver.
Finial: The decorative ornament on the top of an object that often doubles as a handle for tableware items (such
as on the lid of a butter dish or a sugar bowl). May also be the decorative end of a spoon.
Flatware: The name for all dining implements such as forks, spoons, and serving pieces used to serve or eat food.
Knives with dull edges, such as butter knives, are also flatware. Technically, knives with cutting edges are cutlery
so not considered flatware.
Flat Chasing: Decoration, such as flowers and scrolls, done by hand with a hammer and punch that are impressed
into flat surfaces.
Flared: Spread slightly outward.
Flatware Blanking: A form of pressing and cutting a thick slab of metal into a rough flatware form.
Forging: The shaping of metal by heating and hammering against an anvil.
Foot: The base of an item, the area where it rests.
Fluting: A decoration of concave semicircular parallel radiating grooves. The converse is reeding.
Florentine Finish: A heavily brushed satin finish.
Frosted Finish: A matte surface finish produced by the use of acid or brushing. Also called satin finish.
Founding: The process of creating an object by pouring molten metal into a mold. Also called casting.
Fleur de Lis: A decorative motif in the form of a stylized flower with a central petal upright and two
outer petals going outward.
Flask: A stoppered or lidded container for holding liquids, often alcohol, and intended to be carried
on the person.
Forgery: Something counterfeit or fraudulent, made with a deliberate attempt at deception.
French Plating: The application of silver foil to objects made of brass or copper.
Ferrule: A metal ring used for fastening, joining, or reinforcement.
Foliate: Leaf shaped or decorated with leaves.
Fantasy Flatware: Types of flatware pieces not produced by the manufacturer, but created
by a retailer or artisan by modifying an existing original piece of flatware. Fantasy pieces
have been produced for well over 150 years, and are currently being made today. Shown
are examples of a modern ice cream fork and a ramekin fork, each made from teaspoons.