How Do You Define Sterling Silver Jewelry?
Humans have long been entranced by sparkling silver: jewelry, coinage, high-status homewares, status images and substantially more besides. Silver is often used to celebrate milestones, achievements, celebrations, and ceremonies, as well as for its beautiful ornamental value.
Yet, how much do you know about silver and your silver jewelry? What is sterling silver anyway? For what reason does silver tarnish and how can you clean it? How is silver different from gold? And for what reason would it be a good idea for you to care?
As we’ve been designing and making jewelry for many years, we’re here to give you the lowdown.
How about we begin?
Similar in its composition and character to gold and copper, silver is an extremely soft, flexible, and malleable metal which also takes an exceptionally high polish. While it doesn’t have the hardness of gold, it has many purposes, especially when alloyed with other metals to make it harder.
Silver is one of the seven metals of antiquity which were known to prehistoric humans, the others being gold, copper, tin, lead, iron, and mercury. As it has been being used for so long the history of its discovery and early use are not known.
It’s a more reactive metal than gold and is also harder to extract from its ores when mined. This meant that in antiquity supplies of silver were rarer and therefore more costly until around 1500 bc when the egyptians discovered new strategies for refining it.
Today silver is considerably less valuable than gold, which is rarer and harder to mine in mass.
What is sterling silver?
You might wonder: is sterling silver real silver? The answer is a definite yes. Sterling silver is just an alloyed form of silver that is substantially more suitable to use in jewelry and other metalwork.
Fine silver is 99.9% unadulterated silver. In this form, the metal is beautiful and experiences minimal tarnish, yet it’s generally too soft and malleable for many purposes, including making most silver jewelry.
Instead, fine silver is alloyed with copper to create sterling silver, which is 92.5% unadulterated silver and 7.5% copper. This percentage of fine silver is the reason you will some of the time see sterling silver alluded to as ‘925 silver’ or hallmarked with a 925 stamp.
The copper makes the silver harder, more durable, and therefore much better to work with and use, yet without compromising on color. Most silver jewelry that you purchase and wear will be sterling silver.
Can silver jewelry become black? The answer is also: yes – and it’s normal and sufficiently easy to determine.
The copper added to sterling silver will cause it to tarnish more easily, with the metal turning dark brown or black after some time, especially in sticky conditions. However, it’s easy to clean and beneath the tarnish, your sterling silver will in any case be in great condition: it won’t rust or perish with normal use. See our handy links to articles about cleaning silver jewelry for more information.
Sterling silver jewelry is a brilliant, top-notch decision in many circumstances. The metal won’t rust or perish, in addition to assuming you look after your jewelry will look great well into what’s to come. You ought to try and be able to pass your silver jewelry on to people in the future.
The softness of sterling silver can make it unsuited to use with pricey gemstone settings. Gold or platinum are the metals most frequently utilized in this situation as they are harder and the settings are more averse to being damaged.
Because silver is soft you ought to take a bit more care with cleaning it. Never utilize harsh cleansers, for example, baking soda or toothpaste as they will eliminate a portion of the metal over the long haul.
Silver or gold jewelry?
Your decision of silver jewelry or jewelry is primarily down to personal inclination, however except if you’re particularly wealthy, a major deciding factor is an expense. It may shock me to learn that although silver is a valuable metal, it’s vastly more affordable than gold.
How significantly less costly? At the hour of writing silver is about a whopping multiple times more affordable than gold. This makes gathering a strong gold jewelry collection an exceptionally expensive option in comparison to silver.
The reason is primarily that there is considerably more silver in the world than gold. It’s estimated that 1.4 million tons of silver have been mined throughout human history, while only 173,000 tons of gold have been mined.
How do you know your jewelry is real?
In many cases, the silver jewelry you own will be hallmarked or stamped with 925 (sterling silver) or 999 (fine silver). You may also see the stamps ss or fs to address each. However, not all silver jewelry is hallmarked as it’s not a legal prerequisite in all nations. We feel that for certain plans the hallmark can detract from the finish of the piece, so we don’t always utilize one.
So how else can you work out if your silver is real? Look down to find out …
One test is to utilize a strong magnet (preferably a rare-earth neodymium magnet). If the magnet joins strongly to the metal, it’s not silver or the piece may only be silver plated over a base metal. However, other metals are not magnetic, so this is not a definitive test.
If you’re feeling brave you can also dab a tiny amount of chlorine bleach on the metal in an inconspicuous place and watch for a reaction. Silver (including silver plating) will generally become brown or black within the sight of bleach. Rinse the metal well afterward and utilize a polishing fabric or silver plunge to attempt to eliminate the discoloration.
Coincidentally, this ought to provide you some insight as to why wearing sterling silver jewelry in a swimming pool is never really smart! Chlorine and silver are not a decent combination.
Finally, you can also purchase a valuable metal testing kit from ebay or amazon which ought to definitively let you know the metal on the off chance that you adhere to the instructions.
A warning about nickel and german silver
You may find jewelry which is made with nickel silver or german silver, which is often cheaper than sterling silver jewelry. Be aware that these metals don’t contain any silver at all. Our advice is that the two metals ought to be avoided in jewelry.
Nickel silver is an alloy of copper and nickel, while german silver may contain zinc as well. Many individuals foster nickel allergies over the long run. This can cause nasty skin rashes and once you’ve fostered an allergy to nickel you’ll have it for the remainder of your life.
There are other concerns about the toxicity of nickel and we strongly suggest that you never wear it against your skin. All simone walsh silver jewelry is made with real sterling silver and all of our plans – including our gold jewelry – are sans nickel.
The beautiful bright and somewhat warm coloring of sterling silver jewelry will suit almost anyone.
In addition, those with sensitive skins are probably not going to have an adverse impact from silver, dissimilar to those with lesser metals. Furthermore obviously, it has a significantly lower cost than other valuable metals like gold and platinum, meaning you can easily invest in bunches of gorgeous and top-quality silver jewelry.
Like gold, silver will also maintain its value – and conceivably even increase in value – over the long haul in comparison to other commodities. It is also perpetually recyclable and the metal can be reused in many forms.
On top of those benefits, having silver jewelry in your collection will add to its style, value, longevity, and versatility. Silver jewelry is a phenomenal decision.