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Sterling Silver Jewelry

Updated on October 22, 2011

Silver having symbol Ag has the Latin name Argentum. It belongs to the group of coinage metals. Copper and gold are also the coinage metals but only silver and gold are worth the properties that allow them to be used as jewelry metals. Copper however is extensively used in alloying of both these metals to give them special properties and no doubt, these three metals have special bond between them.

Silver is a white lustrous substance which is very soft. It is the element with the highest electrical conductivity and also its thermal conductivity is one of the highest. Throughout the ages people have used this metal in making jewelry and decorative stuff.

The reason why it is called coinage metal is because it has been used as a metal of choice for making coins, for centuries. The gold and copper were the other metals of choice. But presently silver has gained a modern charm giving it new place in the jewelry market.

Sterling Silver

Currently the price of gold is an all time high and buying jewelry made out of gold is getting more and more expensive. The lust of wearing jewelry specially with in women will never die out but not all can afford fashionable and trendy jewelry made out of gold. So more and more people are now shifting toward imitation jewelry and its makers are trying to introduce new innovation in this industry.

Sterling silver is an alloy of silver containing copper as an alloying substance. It is added to give silver some hardness to make it appropriate to work on. However even the added copper doesn't make it very hard and the product is still soft enough to be bend easily.

Sterling silver is also called as 925 sterling silver or 925 silver as it contains 92.5% of silver and 7.5% copper by weight. Sterling silver is centuries old and it has been long used in making cutlery,coins and decorative stuff and jewelry.

Its use in jewelry has also been quite old but due to its softness it does not give out a good finished jewelry piece. However it has been always popuar among people specially men to wear silver bracelets,chains and stone studded rings. Muslim men also wear silver jewelry extensively as wearing gold is forbidden for them.

Types Of Silver Jewelry

Like I mentioned above, sterling silver is very soft, therefore many other alloys of silver have been made to make silver jewelry competitive with gold. But this alloyed silver can give allergies to some people which is actually on the of the biggest draw back of alloyed silver jewelry and also nickel made imitation jewelry.

Lets check out briefly some of the other types of silver:

German Silver

German silver is not really any alloy of silver. It is actually a mixture of nickel,copper and sometimes zinc. It is a very hard substance and recently it has gained some place in making trendy imitation jewelry as it comes out as a good finished jewelry piece. It is extremely hard to work with it and it always has to be rhodium or silver plated to give it a lustrous shine.

Oxidized Silver

Recently oxidize silver has gained much popularity in silver jewelry making due to its unique stylish yet dull look. The silver is treated with oxygen to give it a good rusty look making jewelry item more like an antique piece. Such jewelry when studded with matching precious or semiprecious stones gives a stunning look. Also you don't have to worry much about polishing as this type of silver doesn't need any lustre to give out its look.

Pure Silver

Pure silver jewelry is also extensively made and used. Pure silver is very very soft and can be worked upon very easily. People who learn the art of jewelry making always start with working on pure silver before trying their hands on other tougher and expensive jewelry metals.

Although pure silver can be mended easily yet its handling requires extra care as it can suffer lots of dents due to its softness. It can also get tarnished or blackened if not removed before doing something with soap or when using perfume. Pure silver jewelry is extensively used by men as bracelets,chains,rings and cuffs.

Silver Gemstone Jewelry

Sterling silver has been the silver of choice for ages and is a better alternative to pure silver. This is because pure silver jewelry is some what inappropriate for making studded jewelry and majority of silversmiths always used sterling silver to make gemstone studded jewelry.

Sterling silver can also be identified very easily as it always has a stamp saying "925" marked on every jewelry item. Sterling silver jewelry is just similar to pure silver jewelry but with the additional hardness due to copper, this type of silver allows silver smiths to work more smoothly.

The finished material will always be better than what we get out of pure silver. Sterling silver is good for gemstone studded jewelry as it is stronger, holding gemstones firmly. A variety of stones ranging form precious to semi-precious and even artificial stone, are used with sterling silver.

Sterling Silver Jewelry Handling

Sterling silver is quite cheap than gold and you get almost the same trendy jewelry out of this silver just like we get with white gold. The modern methods of jewelry making has really improved the the ways silver jewelry is made and it is now better finished and more beautiful. Earlier method were not as efficient and it was very hard to get silver jewelry absolutely flawless all because of its softness.

The handling of sterling silver jewelry demands taking some extra care. It should not be bumped here and there specially if it is studded. It can get scratches easily so care should be taken. One should make sure that it is away from soap and perfume otherwise it may become black or may tarnish.

Polishing of old sterling silver requires mat finishing and plating would not be enough unlike German silver or white gold. So you may have to pay more for polishing.

Cleaning Sterling Silver Jewelry


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