Where did the Silver Baby Gifts tradition come from?

A classic gift - the silver baby rattle

A classic gift - the silver baby rattle

At BabySakes.com, we’ve recently expanded our offering of silver baby keepsakes and that got us wondering… where did this tradition of giving silver to babies come from anyway? Can an infant truly appreciate such a fine gift and isn’t a silver teether a bit tough to chew on?

So, our crack research team has been on the trail of identifying these mysterious origins. As it turns out, silver gifts for babies are a tradition that dates back to before colonial times.

Silversmiths, such as the famous patriot Paul Revere, created silver baby rattles, cups and spoons as part of their craft. Which leads us to the question… did Paul Revere shake a silver baby rattle to attract attention during his famous midnight ride? Hmmm… a tale lost to history!

Giving a silver gift now is generally considered to be a keepsake for parents and not a functional gift for baby. That wasn’t always so. Babies have played with rattles for a long time. The first known rattles were made from clay, which was easily broken. When silver came into vogue rattles were soon fashioned out of the versatile metal, which didn’t break so babies could safely chew on them.

Silver spoons were a traditional gift given by godparents at baby’s christening among the upper classes in Europe. But the saying “born with a silver spoon in his mouth,” says as much about health as about wealth. Silver has been used as a bactericide since the 1800s and its purification uses were widely known throughout history. It was commonly known that babies who used silver pacifiers and were fed with silver spoons were in better health than their less fortunate counterparts. So, don’t feel guilty… it’s healthy!

As silversmith technology advanced, silver-plated baby rattles, cups and spoons became a less expensive alternative to the Sterling silver products used by more wealthy families. Families with more modest incomes could finally enjoy the benefit silver for their children.

Nowadays, with the advent of antibacterial soaps, modern medicines and washable plastic toys, silver is more of a luxury, but certainly a cherished keepsake. Our heirloom-quality silver baby gifts at Babysakes.com will last generations, and certainly won’t be forgotten at the bottom of a toy box.

Silver Plated Feeding Set

Silver Plated Feeding Set

BabySakes.com Giveaway
We at Babysakes.com are curious about your family traditions of silver baby gifts. Do you have any silver baby rattles that have been in your family for a long time? What were you told about them? Who did you get them from? Leave your answers in the comments and help us to fill out our little history lesson. We will select one of these comments to receive a silver plated feeding set (retail value: $50). We will select a winner on September 26, 2008. Contest is open to U.S. residents over 18, void where prohibited… (complete rules here.)

Contest Closed: And the Winner Is…
We are happy to announce that Rochelle is the winner of this contest, with comment #4. Congratulations Rochelle! If you didn’t win this one, look for additional BabySakes.com baby keepsake giveaways on the BabySakes blog.


  1. This is the first I’ve heard of silver baby rattles. I love the concept. We have silver spoons and ornaments passed down in my family, but I’m going to have to get a silver rattle for my daughter. A tradition has to start somewhere.

  2. Staci Davidson says:

    I love the idea of silver baby rattles. I love anything silver and I’m sure my baby will grow up to love silver as well.Just the thought of passing items down, such as silver spoon,silver rattle,etc. is a wonderful idea. Maybe one day my child will pass it on to their child and so on.

  3. There aren’t any silver rattles that have been passed down in my family. I will, however, pass my baby china on to my children. The silver rattle though – what a neat tradition to start!

  4. Rochelle Savory says:

    I have heard a couple of different reasons for the timeless tradition of silver baby items. The first is that with the silver teether it imprints the teeth marks on the rattle or teether so you will always remember the teething days. The other would be that silver pieces often get passed through the generations and are a great keepsake in addition to the other pieces that you may hand down.

  5. We never had any silver baby rattles amongst my brothers and sisters, but my grandmother had one. It was passed down to my aunt when grandma died. I never knew it was silver growing up. I think I thought silver was just a color not an actual metal. We did do the bronzed baby shoes though (yeah that’s an entirely different thing I know.)

  6. My husband’s family has a tradition of silver items and other similar traditions such as calling cards. After our son was born, we were given my husband’s silver brush to keep within our new family. Also, my son’s maternal great grandmother gave him an engraved silver brush and comb shortly after he was born.

    We will bring my son’s brush and comb with us when we take him to get his first haircut after his first birthday, which is a tradition from my culture.

  7. I for one did not come from a family who passed down elegant keepsakes. I did not have anything like that as a child, but I am determined to keep such things for my own children. My daughter, who is almost two, received a Reed and Barton silver spoon as a baby gift. She received her very first taste of baby food from that spoon so that it would always hold a special meaning to her.

  8. I love silver baby items. My little girl is due in less than 2 months 7 she already has 5 baby cups that were passed down to her. Two were mine & 3 were my husbands. She has also been given a silver spoon. I would love a rattle to add to her little collection!

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