Question: I have a cake server and serving spoon that is stamped SILVER on it. Any idea if this stamp means plated or sterling?
Is that the only marking that your items have on it? Usually sterling silverware will have the purity of silver included. A stamp of .925 or 925 indicates sterling, meaning that sterling silver is 92.5% silver alloyed with 7.5% of something else. Other common markings that give indications about the purity of the silver include: 800, S, SS, STERLING, 900, or STANDARD.
We can not say what the purity of your silver cake server and sterling spoon is with the information that you provided. We would recommend trying to do some research to find out if you have sterling silver or not. If you know your items are old or could be considered antiques than you might want to have an antique dealer appraise your items.
Unfortunately there is no easy way to determine if you have sterling sliver, plated silver, or something else by just looking at it. There are test kits out there that require you to scratch through the coating. We use an XRF analytical machine that uses x-ray fluorescence, however on just a few items it might not be worth send them in for testing.
Also keep in mind that serving items are often weighted in the handles, so you may not have an accurate weight of silver in your items without taking out the weighted material.
Hope this helps!
*Image displayed is only a representation of the items described in this blog post and may not be true images of the items in question.