I was surprised to discover that what we Brits call cutlery is called silverware in the U.S.
To me the term 'silverware' refers to items that are made of pure silver or, at the very least, are silver-plated. Eating implements made of other materials are not silverware but cutlery in Britain, for example: Stainless-steel cutlery, plastic cutlery, gold cutlery etc.
What really surprised me was that it seems the term 'plastic silverware' is commonly used.
Thanksgiving morning volunteers were slicing turkey and folding plastic silverware into dinner-size napkins. Visions of Charity: Volunteer Workers and Moral Community By Rebecca Anne Allahyari
He took out a long paper tablecloth, paper plates, plastic silverware, party napkins The Wanderers By Richard Price
I searched online for 'plastic silverware' but the results weren't conclusive from my point of view. Sometimes I arrived at a page that showed white plastic items but on the page itself they would not be described as 'silverware'. Other links led me to pages such as this one New 48 SILVER Plastic CUTLERY Wedding Party Silverware Forks Spoons Knifes 2 Box where the product is being described as 'silver silverware' as far as I can understand but the words plastic and cutlery also appear. My eyes tell me that the product has a silvery finish but with regard to the name, every single base is covered leaving me uncertain as to which if any is the general term.
Looking at the examples that I provided, do US readers understand them to refer to the white plastic items that are often used on informal occasions or does the term imply that the plastic is coated in some way to make it appear silvery as in the product example I showed?
As an afterthought, it occurs to me to ask whether solid gold cutlery would be called 'gold silverware'.