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Oneida Stainless Steel Flatware/Silverware Full Guide-Review: Collections, Designs, Patterns

Updated on January 13, 2015

Oneida Tableware

To Oneida the well-known Christian commune, flatware and silverware making was a means: the goal was perfecting the human soul through various spiritual and worldly practices. Ultimately, however, the two merged on a more than symbolical level. Today, Oneida the company offer cutlery, dinnerware, drinkware, and all sorts of accessories and related gifts that stand out for their quality and meticulous attention to detail. The ethics of faith transposed into work ethics, and the commercial enterprise is still informed by the spiritual one.

But there's a more obvious reason to Oneida popularity and broad permeation in homes across America. Tableware, after all, is used during meals, the most natural family and community binders – and the original commune considered the forging of strong bonds as its founding principle. Family life has become one of the most cherished aspects in the group's existence; focus on cutlery making was a natural extension of that concern. In modern world, family is often thought to be the last stronghold of Christian and, indeed, human values in general. And it all starts at the dinner table.

Eventually, quality and precision spring exactly from that bounteous source, since each product coming out of Oneida workshops has to embody the guiding principles and standards (Christian values) of the community.

Styles

Oneida flatware, mostly stainless steel, comes in three main styles: Classic, Modern, and Decorative. Classic accommodates calm, confident designs that commonly feature unobtrusive decoration, usually on the borders of the knives, forks, and spoons. Decorative collections display artistic and elaborate motifs, usually inspired by classic Victorian, Colonial, an other earlier patterns, and will freely spill over to the main body of the flatware piece, sometimes covering the stem entirely.

Decorative department also includes several 20th century styles (Art Deco, 70s Pop Art). Modern cutlery exhibits minimalistic layouts, occasionally based on irregular geometrical shapes, and shows fluid, continuous motion. This category has a more three dimensional, architectural design approach that draws ideas from nature and urban landscapes.

Casual/Formal/Special Occasion

Though Oneida offer several high-end collections, the majority of its selection fits into the casual and semi-formal category – a trend determined largely by the preference to use almost exclusively stainless steel. When compared to such flatware makers as Wallace and Reed&Barton, which often employ sterling silver, Oneida's assortment emerges as aimed at more casual, modest, and everyday occasions – a quality reflected in the affordable prices, which also contributed to the company's popularity.

Importantly, however, quite a few collections, for instance such as Michelangelo and Louisiana, were designed for celebratory events – and how often these should happen is for the homemaker to decide! – Oneida clearly aiming to provide the full (yearly) spectrum of tableware categories and items.

Collections

An assortment of Dinnerware and Cookware complements the dozens of flatware collections the company developed during the years – and to which we dedicate most of our reviews in this series.

Classic

  • Juilliard features a central crease that gives the handles volume, and a crown-like ornamental motif at the tip – a scroll very much resembling a fleur-de-lis (trefoil), the symbol of several royal houses. Also a review on:

  • Marquette

  • Colonial Boston

  • Paul Revere takes the idea of Colonial Boston, and softens it with more patient lines and a slight central curve that forces the flatware to arch a little upwards. A modern classic style that anticipates the geometry of Oneida's contemporary trends. Also:

  • Kenwood

  • American Harmony

  • Easton demonstrates a classic, traditionally cast handle design that reshapes the oval geometry of American Harmony into a solid rectangular shape; includes a subtle decorative touch in the form of a linking ring between the handles and the main part, echoing Juilliard. Also:

  • Sheraton

  • Garnet (satin finish)

Decorative

  • Michelangelo must be one of Oneida's most richly adorned collection of flatware: the complexity of the flourishing metalwork evokes long, many-course meals, deep conversations – but also, surprisingly, carousing and simply having good time at the table in an old-fashioned (and often forgotten) way. Historically evocative design. Also:

  • Louisiana

  • Dover presents a fascinating pattern that calls up the vine-entwined Michelangelo, but reduces the ornament on the handle, instead opting for more pronounced, and delicate to the point of lacy contours. A spacious design that reveals a step towards in history: from early dynasties towards later refined monarchies. Also:

  • Aquarius

  • Chateau builds up on Dover, and takes a step towards more vividly, boldly expressed aristocratic aesthetic: the powerful sweeping lines impart a sense of independence, freedom, and even a touch of pride. An almost modern, captivating interpretation of traditional cutlery design. Also:

  • Tuscany

Modern

  • Flight introduces into Oneida selection several contemporary sculptural elements, especially plasticity and fluidity of form. The handles appear as if they were made of clay – steel can be a flexible and responsive alloy – and pressed on by a thumb. It's a casual, informal, and very warm and inviting pattern that can stand out as a real alternative to the ornamented decorative and classic flatware. Also:

  • Lincoln

  • Mercer

  • Mooncrest: another casual design that echoes the oval layout of American Harmony. Indeed, calm and harmony determine the character of the smooth, leaf-shaped handles, prompting the diners to focus on the food and the atmosphere. Also:

  • Camlynn

  • Icarus

  • Sand Dune (satin finish) manifests a bolder, edgier variation of Flight. The three dimensional, sculpted handles invite the light, creating interesting visual effects involving glare and shadows – the overall form is soft and nature-inspired (even somewhat wild to that effect). Also:

  • Chandler

  • Frost

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