My mother's sterling silver utensils were pretty old, and they showed the wear.
I guess a lot of users got the benefit of the material that wore off of them over the years! I remember polishing them so maybe I got an extra dose that way. When sterling is polished well it shines bright and looks great. And the feel of solid silver in the hand when you're eating is second to none. You tend to take longer to dine when using them. Hot tea or coffee heats up the spoon so fast it's kind of hard to believe.
As I recall we used them on special occasions, like Christmas, Easter and All Saints' Day, but not birthdays.