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Silver, like gold, is one of the oldest metals for jewellery design. Silver is highly malleable and reflective, and has been transformed into everything from mirrors to flatware, but by far its most enduring use is as a personal adornment. Since silver doesn’t tarnish when it is worn, it is associated with purity. Both economical and versatile, silver can be worked into bold earrings, thick chains, or even something delicate. Understanding the difference between silver plated and sterling silver jeweller will help when choosing your pieces.
One of the most popular options is classy sterling silver jewellery. This variety comprises 92.5 percent pure silver that is alloyed with other metals, particularly copper. Sterling silver is the oldest of alloys still in use today and was first recorded in the late tenth century. The alloy tends to have a lower melting point than pure copper or fine silver, making it easier to manufacture and withstands better than a pure metal.
Sterling silver can retain its silver workability and brilliance; however, it is far more robust than pure silver. The other metals found in the alloy seem to reduce its tendency to tarnish.
Sterling silver pieces bear a stamp of purity with the number of its parts per thousand of pure silver, which is 925. Some jewellery makers will refer to sterling silver as “925 silver.”
Just as with other precious metals and jewellery, silver can vary in price. Although it has yet to approach the prices of platinum or gold in recent years, the cost has risen as more and more industrial uses are found for it. One solution to the rising cost of the metal is to use less in jewellery while retaining its durability and brilliance. Silver plating seems to be the solution that many manufacturers are choosing. Two of the most popular methods of plating a base metal with silver are known as filling and electroplating.
When it comes to shopping for silver jewellery, take note of the markings on the inside of the item. Some handcrafted pieces won’t bear the mark “sterling” or “925,” even if they are sterling.
Silver does not cause skin reactions. Many people who suffer from skin irritations or jewellery staining have been wearing an alloy of copper, nickel and zinc, and nickel silver that does not contain a precious metal.
Silver-plated jeweller is the best option for items that you are only going to wear occasionally. With everyday use, the thin layer of silver tends to wear away over time, exposing the base metal that will stain skin or corrode.