Everything about Silver

What is Silver?

Silver is a precious metal and, much like gold, is too fine to be utilized in its pure form.

What does .925 mean?

To make silver durable enough for use in jewellery, pure silver, which has a .999 fineness (99.9%), is often alloyed with small quantities of copper (7.5%). The copper is added to strengthen the silver and the resulting product is .925 sterling silver (92.5%). Acceptable quality marks for sterling silver include: sterling, sterling silver, ster, and .925

What are acceptable stamps for sterling silver?

Acceptable quality marks for sterling silver are sterling, sterling silver, ster, and .925

What is sterling silver?

Sterling silver is an alloy of silver, which consists of 92.5 percent silver and 7.5 percent copper.

Why does silver tarnish?

Tarnish is a dulling which naturally occurs when silver reacts with sulfur or hydrogen sulfide in the air. Most people think silver tarnishes due to oxidation. But, chemically speaking, silver is not very reactive—it does not react with oxygen or water at normal temperatures. However, other metals in the alloy, usually copper, may react with oxygen in the air.

How do you care for silver jewellery?

Care should be taken to avoid exposing your silver to household chemicals when cleaning with bleach or ammonia, or when swimming in chlorinated water, as these chemicals can damage silver.

Body Jewellery

How to clean silver jewellery?

The best way to keep your silver jewellery clean is by wearing it often. However, humidity and storing the silver can tarnish the piece, also known as oxidation, which will give the silver a darkish black color. Tarnish is most easily removed when it first becomes visible.

There are several methods to clean your tarnished silver. A popular method is to use a liquid silver cleaner (which smells like rotten eggs) that you can purchase at a jewellery store or a Walmart or Target. Put the piece of silver in the little tray, swish it around, and the original beautiful silver shine is restored.

A silver polishing cloth formulated specifically to remove tarnish is effective in cleaning silver jewellery.

Clean silver at home

How To Clean Jewellery

Jewellery Definitions

Another great method for cleaning sterling silver jewellery, especially when you don’t have silver cleaner or a polishing cloth at home, is toothpaste! Put some toothpaste on an old toothbrush and gently rub the toothpaste into the silver. Let it sit for a few minutes and wash it off. If you’re trying to shine a chain, put toothpaste on the chain and pull it through a wash cloth or paper towel. You’ll see the cloth turn black and you’ll know you’re cleaning the piece.

The aluminum foil method also works great. Fill a bowl or jar halfway with hot water. Add 1 tablespoon of salt to the bowl or a little more, depending on the size of the bowl. Mix the salt until it dissolves. Add a few strips of aluminum foil to the bowl. Add the silver jewellery to the bowl. Stir it around and let it sit for a few minutes. The aluminum foil interacts with the salt and removes the tarnish off the silver. Rinse the jewellery with water. This process may need to be repeated a few times, but it is very effective in restoring your silver jewellery to its original shine.

Particularly valuable or antique pieces of silver should always be hand-polished, as buffing can permanently damage such a piece.

What is the difference between sterling silver and silverplated?

Sterling silver items contain a minimum of 92.5% pure silver. Silver-plated items are made of a lesser quality metal and then covered with a thin layer of silver, making them less valuable than objects made of sterling silver. Sterling silver will last for a long time if cared for properly, whereas silver-plating generally does not last longer than 20 years. Fluorescent x-rays are used by those in the jewellery industry to distinguish between sterling silver and silver-plated items. A scratch test can also be used, but runs the risk of damaging the item being examined.

What is the difference between silver, white gold, and platinum?

Silver, platinum, and white gold are considered “white” metals when used for jewellery, although they are all silver in appearance. The three metals may look similar, but they are very different in content. Sterling silver is the least expensive of the three metals and is comprised of 92.5% silver and 7.5% other metals. It is the softest of the three metals and tarnishes over time, but with frequent and proper cleaning, it serves as an alternative to platinum and white gold because of its lower price.

Gold Vs Silver

White gold is a harder metal than silver and is often used for settings of precious stones. White gold is more durable than silver, it does not tarnish, and it holds its shine very well. Like yellow gold, white gold holds up fairly well over time under normal wear. However, it is considerably more expensive than sterling silver and is typically reserved for more elegant jewellery such as engagement and wedding rings.

Platinum is the “premium” white metal. It is the hardest and most durable white metal and is often chosen for rings and ring settings by people who appreciate the wear and tear to which hand jewellery can be exposed. Platinum can take much more day-to-day abuse before needing to be repaired, whereas silver and white gold need more care. Platinum’s durability and longevity is reflected in its cost, however. A $20 sterling silver ring would cost about $200 in white gold and the same ring might cost around $600 in platinum.

What is  argentium silver?

Argentium is a form of sterling silver that is composed of the same amount of silver as sterling silver- 92.5% – however germanium is added to the silver to make up the remaining 7.5% of the element. This addition helps to prevent rapid tarnishing, and is quickly becoming a modern trend. It is still considered a hypoallergenic metal.

What type of silver should I buy?

There are many varieties of silver on the market. Of these, sterling silver, pure silver and silver plate are the most commonly known and used.

Sterling silver

Sterling silver is an alloy composed of 92.5% of silver and 7.5% of some other metal, commonly copper or nickel. These metals bring strength, durability and an extra luster to the silver.  This composition makes for a stronger variety of silver, which is the quality standard jewellery. This is an established silver standard, having originated in around 1300. The standard for sterling silver was popularized by Tiffany and Co in America as they used this for their jewellery.

How can I know if I identify sterling silver?

Genuine sterling silver should have a hallmark that identifies it as such. There are several versions of sterling silver hallmark. You may see .925 stamped on the silver. Alternately look for the words STER, STERLING, STG or Sterling Silver. If the silver has the number 800 stamped on it, it could very well be of European origin.

If you are worried whether sterling silver is durable, rest easy. This is an hard metal that will last through the ages. If any surface scratches or damage occurs, sterling silver can easily be polished back to its smooth shine. In addition to that, resizing and repairs are very reasonably priced, so maintaining sterling silver jewellery is easily done.

A note about silver hallmarks:

These are tiny microscopic stamps that can be found on some part of the silver. You will have to look carefully with a microscope to see these properly. This is the fastest way to identify if your silver is the real deal.

There can be some instances fake markings, but these are not common.

If the item of jewellery does not have any area on which to stamp a marking, the piece may be unstamped even though it may be of valuable silver.

When I first learned of hallmarks, I checked all my silver and was thrilled to see the tiny .925 marking.

How to Choose Silver Jewellery

Sterling silver jewellery comes in a range of styles and options. Whether you are a minimalist or minimalist, a vintage lover or a modern goddess, there will be silver pieces to suit your tastes. This incredibly versatile metal suits any occasion and event.

Sterling silver earrings

Sterling silver studs and hoops make for nice everyday wear earrings and go well with workwear or casual outfits. For a dressier look, choose sterling silver drop earrings or chandelier earrings. These are more dramatic and are good options for formal or special events.

Sterling silver charm bracelets

Sterling silver charm bracelets are all the rage right now and every girl wants to get her hands on one. They make a great gift and keepsake, as the wearer can keep adding meaningful charms to the bracelet.

There are several varieties of the sterling silver charms that you can buy to add to your charm collection, such as European charms, crystal and glass charms, Pandora charms and Italian charms. All these have their unique looks, so choose what looks good to you. One thing’s for sure, there are charms to suit every taste and need from crazy to calm.

Sterling silver cuffs

Sterling silver cuffs are a statement piece that go well with casual jeans and t-shirt or a dressed-up outfit.  If you are into more minimalist pieces, choose a cuff with a thinner width. Cuffs are more unique than regular bracelets, and can be more eye-catching.

Sterling silver necklaces and pendants

There are multiple chain varieties that you can choose from, depending on your preferences. A smooth style like a Snake chain or an Omega chain gives you a shiny solid appearance, while Rombo, Singapore or Figaro chains give you a conventional rope-like look.

Sterling silver pendants come in all shapes and sizes so finding one to suit your style will not be difficult.

Shopping for silver jewellery

Whether you buy your sterling silver online or at a physical store, there are several factors to consider to ensure you don’t get ripped off.

Here is a quick checklist before you purchase:

  1. Buy from a reputable retailer. This may seem obvious, but often it can be difficult to tell whether someone is an established retailer. Check reviews, if possible, about the retailer. What are people saying about them? Ask questions prior to purchase and communicate with the seller.
  2. Check for the hallmark to identify your silver. Ask the seller if you cannot find the hallmark. It may be that the item was too small to have a hallmark.
  3. Ask about the metals in the alloy. Remember, if you have skin that is sensitive to metal allergies, there is the off chance that silver can contain nickel.
  4. Check the after sales policies. Does the seller take responsibility for the sale? Are there returns policies, warranty or free maintenance? If purchasing online, check the shipping policies.

why not choose a sterling silver statement necklace? Pick one that complements your outfit and overall look. You are sure to get a lot of compliments!

 

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