Yesterday, I found the happy medium! Fairly inexpensive silver that is completely up my alley. I have the stainless steel version of this, but now I wish I'd gone silver!
Napastyle's antique silverware by the pound:
From their website: "So, you’re hosting 20 people for a special dinner and you don’t have enough place settings to go around? Buy your silverware by the pound! This is the greatest idea in silverware we’ve seen in a long time! These authentic vintage utensils date back to the ’ 20s and ’30s—all fine-quality, silver-plated, and newly polished to perfection. They’re gathered from estate sales, vintage markets and antique stores all over the US and Europe. And so what if the pieces don’t match? That’s half the fun! It’s a true celebration of life—the second time around—and a most meaningful form of sustainability. Hand wash for better preservation. Patterns and dimensions will vary. US/Imported. "
$29.99 for a 5 piece setting / $99.99 for a 20 piece set.