The reclaimed rustic item featured this week is the quintessential silver tray. I say rustic because I preffer my silver to be slightly tarnished and less polished than most might. The silver tray isn't a typical piece found in homes these days, something find that very unfortunate. Not only are they beautiful to look at, they're extremely useful and versatile!
Although the concept of the tray dates back to pre-Roman days, the silver tray originated in England sometime around 1661. At the time, it was more commonly known as a salver. The term comes from the Latin word salvare, meaning to save. Typically, salvers were used only by royalty. More specifically, when food was served on a salver, it meant that it had already been tested for poison. If the poor servant lived through the taste testing, the food was deemed fit to eat.
Over the centuries, these trays have become much more common. Generally, they are found in two ways: in pristine condition on display in a china cabinet amongst other trinkets, or tarnished and dull in one's attic or at the flea market. Because they are so common today, silver trays are generally a cheap find. I've often bought stacks of them for merely a few dollars at local auctions or estate sales. I never pass up a pretty silver tray because, as you can see, there is always a use for it.
Above are only just a few of the many uses for a silver tray. They can be re-purposed as beautiful holders for office supplies on a desk, or for mail and keys at a front entrance. They make a gorgeous centerpiece, illuminating a soft glow when you fill them with pillar candles. Drinks, Hors d'oeuvres and even cakes always look more stunning when plated on a proper tray, a sure to make your guests feel special. Smaller ones can hold glass domes for small plant terrariums or whimsical bits of nature. Larger ones can be filled with vanity items and perfume bottles that look pretty on display. Some even come with small feet and make a simple potted plant look more elegant. Others are just useful for holding bit of change, jewelry and hair pins from the day.
Whatever their use, there is a silver tray for any taste. They range from elaborately ornate to classically simple and come in any shape or size. That is why the silver tray is this week's reclaimed rustic item.