In our student days, Hus and I used a bunch of really cheap silverware he bought by the piece in a clearance bin at Zellers when he moved out of his mom's at the age of 19. I think he paid a dime a piece. It was of really poor quality, and some of the forks and spoons had ragged edges which caught on your lips as you ate. For all those years, however, I had a set of real silver silverware I inherited from my Oma packed away. It was not all that old; probably from the 1960s. But my mom tells me that it was a popular brand and pattern in Germany (actually my other Oma had it as well).
Despite having it packed away we continued to use the crap. When I became employed I looked around for a good set of silverware but was paralyzed at the thought of choosing a pattern to use for the rest of my life. I'm not sure how I finally decided to use my Oma's silverware for everyday dining, but I did. And we've never looked back. Using it daily means that I never have to polish it, and the forks and knifes have a solid weight that gives some gravitas to dining. The spoons are of a particularly nice size for soups.
When I was visiting one of my sisters in the Lower Mainland last week, she showed me Oma's watch that she inherited. It is a delicate gold wind-up watch. My sister was looking for a nicer watch than the one she regularly wears, and I encouraged her to wear this one, since she already has it and it means something. It seems a fitting way of honouring an heirloom. She feared it might be broken, but winded it up and it worked. While she was busy, I quickly took a picture of it (on my wrist).