Silver is revered in jewelry circles because it produces some of the most beautiful and enduring pieces. Silver accessories are favorites because they can be worn for any occasion. Because of its unique qualities, silver jewelry is almost always in fashion and can be worn with most fashion trends.
Types of Silver
Silver comes in a variety of types. The most commonly known and used to make jewelry include:
- Sterling silver
- Fine silver
- Silver plated
Sterling silver is composed of 92.5% of silver and 7.5% of copper or nickel. The added metals help to make the silver stronger and more lustrous. This type of silver is standard and has been in existence for centuries.
Many stylish silver bangles for women are made of sterling silver. In fact, jewelers such as Tiffany and Co. in the U.S. use this type of silver to make their world-famous jewelry. Sterling silver is a durable metal that will last a lifetime and beyond. Any tarnish on the surface can be polished off easily.
To know whether the jewelry you plan to buy is genuine sterling silver, look for hallmarks such as .925, STER, STERLING, STG or Sterling Silver.
Fine silver is as close as you can get to pure silver. Its hallmark is .999 as it contains 99.9% and 1% of other elements. These are not significant enough in quantity to be named.
While many people believe pure is the best, pure silver is too soft to be used to create jewelry. It is easily damaged and will lose its shape over time. Fine silver is best used to make jewelry pieces such as earrings. Bangles may easily break as they are exposed to some roughness.
This is a thin layer of silver that covers another base metal such as copper. This one has a lot less silver than the aforementioned two other types of silver. It is not as valuable either because, with time, the silver coating can and does discolour and wear off.
Other types of silver you can get on the market include the following:
- Coin silver
- German silver
- Britannia silver
- Tribal silver
- Nickel silver
- Mexican silver
They have varying percentages of silver and are also not as valuable as sterling silver or fine silver.
These are tiny stamps that are used to identify the type of silver you are about to or have invested in. They are microscopic and may be difficult to see with the naked eye. You can only see it with a microscope. Even then, you must look very carefully.
The hallmark is the best way to identify whether the silver you want to buy is what you need. It is easy to get tricked into buying something fake if you are not careful.
Also, there have been a few and scattered cases of fake markings. However, with a bona fide silver dealer or reputable jewelers, you do not have to worry about this. They have a reputation to protect and will not risk losing business over such minute issues.
You can also come across unmarked pieces. This usually happens when the jewelry has no area on which a marking can be stamped. However, it may be the real thing.
Silver comes in a variety of forms. The more valuable the silver, the longer it lasts and can be bequeathed to later generations. This type is also hypoallergenic and can, therefore, be worn by people with sensitive skin.
Even though silver tarnishes, it is easy to restore it to its original shine. Take a plastic container and line it with aluminum foil. Add boiling water to the foil lined container along with a few tablespoons of baking soda to restore its beautiful polish. It is, however, advisable to wear your silver often to reduce chances of it tarnishing. Silver tarnishes when it is left in the jewelry box for too long.