Sterling Gallery Ltd. Mazza Gallerie, 5300 Wisconsin Ave. NW. Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Monday, Thursday and Friday, until 9 p.m. 244-1031.

Much of Washington's diplomatic community has for years special-ordered its sterling silver from Carlo Mario Camusso, Inc., directly from its plant in Lima, Peru, or one of its foreign franchises. The U.S. State Department even selected Camusso as its official supplier of silver articles from 1946 to 1963. Now the extraordinary silver of Camusso has come to serve a burgeoning American market through the Sterling Gallery Ltd., currently Camusso's only distributor in the U.S. Sterling Gallery stocks nearly 3,500 sterling silver articles, althogh the store can have almost any object custom-designed in silver. The range of objects on display here is extensive, from traditional and functional silver bowls and dishes, candelabra, flatware and tea services, to the decorative, in the form of highly ornate or elegantly simple pieces, such as clocks, animals, figurines and reproductions of museum objects. The silver content of all Camusso silver is the purest possible - 92.5 percent - and the prices are what you would expect silver prices to be. But buying or just browsing at Sterling Gallery is like spending time in a silver museum