Silver plating is a practice that is done for a variety of reasons, on both individual and commercial levels. Silver plating is sometimes added to other metals simply to enhance the aesthetic appeal of the item. It is also often used as a way of increasing the conductivity of another metal, particularly in electronic devices.
Two basic types of silver are available for household use: solid silver and silver-plate. Solid silver is the best bet if planning to make a major investment in jewelry, flatware or serve ware that you will use for years. Silver plate, however, is a suitable alternative for household items you won't use much or keep for long. Silver plate is significantly less expensive, making it easier to afford beautiful pieces without the high cost.