WHAT IS STERLING SILVER?

Humans have always been enamoured with gleaming silver, which has been used as jewellery, money, high-class homewares, status symbols, and much more. Silver is frequently used to commemorate significant events, accomplishments, celebrations, and ceremonies, as well as for its attractive decorative value.

But, honestly, how much do you know about silver? What exactly is sterling silver? What causes silver to tarnish and how can it be cleaned? What distinguishes silver from gold? What’s more, why should you care?

We’re here to offer you the dirt since we’ve been designing and creating silver jewellery for a long time.

Remember to check out our post on gold, karats, and carats.

Let’s get this party started…

THE LOWDOWN ON SILVER
Silver is a soft, ductile, malleable metal that takes a high polish and is similar in composition and character to gold and copper. While it lacks the hardness of gold, it has several applications, particularly when alloyed with other metals to make it tougher.

Silver is one of the seven ancient metals known to prehistoric people, along with gold, copper, tin, lead, iron, and mercury. The history of its discovery and early use is unknown because it has been in use for so long.

It’s a more reactive metal than gold, and it’s also more difficult to mine from its ores. This meant that silver was scarce and consequently more expensive throughout antiquity, until the Egyptians developed new techniques of purifying it about 1500 BC.

Silver is far less valued now than gold, which is rarer in nature and more difficult to extract in large quantities.

WHAT IS STERLING SILVER AND HOW DOES IT WORK?
Is sterling silver actual silver, you might wonder? The answer is unmistakably yes. Sterling silver is an alloyed kind of silver that is better suited for jewellery and other works.

Fine silver is made up of 99.9% pure silver. The metal is attractive in this state and tarnish is minimal, but it’s too soft and flexible for many applications, including producing most jewellery.

Sterling silver, which is 92.5 percent pure silver and 7.5 percent copper, is made by alloying fine silver with copper. Because of this percentage of pure silver, sterling silver is sometimes referred to as ‘925 silver’ or hallmarked with a 925 stamp.

The copper makes the silver tougher and more robust, making it easier to work with and use, without sacrificing colour. Sterling silver will make up the majority of the silver jewellery you buy and wear.

The sole disadvantage of sterling silver is that it tarnishes more readily due to the additional copper, turning dark brown or black with time, especially in humid settings. It is, however, simple to clean, and your sterling silver will remain in excellent condition behind the tarnish: it will not corrode or perish with typical use.

SILVER JEWELRY INFORMATION
In most cases, sterling silver jewellery is a fantastic, high-quality option. The metal will not rust or corrode, and if you take care of your jewellery, it will last a long time. Silver jewellery should be able to be passed down through the generations.

Even sterling silver’s softness makes it unsuitable for use with highly costly gemstone settings. Gold or platinum are the most common metals chosen in this case since they are tougher and less prone to harm the settings.

Because silver is a delicate metal, cleaning it should be done with caution. Never use abrasive cleaners like baking soda or toothpaste, since they will eventually remove some of the metal.

Make sure to read our post on how to clean silver jewellery for the whole scoop.

GOLD VS. SILVER
Silver or gold jewellery is mostly a matter of personal preference, although cost is a big deciding factor unless you’re exceptionally affluent. It may surprise you to find that, while silver is a valuable metal, it is far less expensive than gold.

How much cheaper is it? Silver is around 75 times less costly than gold at the time of writing. In compared to silver, this makes amassing a solid gold jewellery collection an extremely costly endeavour.

The primary reason is that there is more more silver than gold in the globe. Over the course of human history, 1.4 million tonnes of silver have been mined, compared to only 173,000 tonnes of gold.

CAN YOU TELL IF IT’S REAL SILVER?
In most situations, your silver jewellery will be hallmarked or stamped with 925 (sterling silver) or 999 (precious metal) (fine silver). The stamps SS or FS may alternatively be seen to represent either.

However, because it is not a legal necessity in many countries, not all silver jewellery is hallmarked (including Australia). We believe that the hallmark might distract from the piece’s polish in some cases.

So, how can you tell whether your silver is genuine?

A powerful magnet can be used as a test (preferably a rare-earth neodymium magnet). If the magnet forms a strong bond with the metal, the piece isn’t silver, or it’s silver plated over a base metal. However, because other metals aren’t magnetic, this isn’t a foolproof test.

You may even dab a little quantity of chlorine bleach on the metal in an inconspicuous area and wait for a response if you’re feeling bold. In the presence of bleach, silver (including silver plating) will usually become brown or black. After that, rinse the metal well and try to erase the discoloration with a cleaning cloth or silver dip.
By the way, this should help you understand why wearing sterling silver jewellery in a pool is never a smart idea!

Finally, you can get a precious metal testing kit on Ebay or Amazon that will tell you exactly what metal you have if you follow the instructions.

THE FINAL SHOT
Sterling silver’s stunning brilliant and warm coloration will fit practically everybody.

Furthermore, unlike with lighter metals, persons with sensitive skin are extremely unlikely to be harmed by it. Plus, because Silver is far less expensive than metals like gold and platinum, you can afford to buy a lot of lovely silver jewellery.

In compared to other commodities, silver, like gold, will retain – and potentially even enhance – its value over time. It’s also infinitely recyclable, and the metal may be used in a variety of ways.

Silver jewellery adds class, value, longevity, and adaptability to your collection, in addition to those advantages. Silver jewellery is a fantastic option.