Silver has been a multifaceted asset throughout history. It was found as a free metal and easily worked into useful shapes and was widely used by early man. The beauty, weight and lack of corrosion made silver of high value, and hence one of the earliest of metals to be used as a medium of exchange and for adornment. Many jewelry designers like working in fine silver because it is softer and more malleable than other silver qualities.
Quality of Silver
The proportion of silver in alloys is stated in terms of fineness, which means parts of silver per thousand of the alloy.
Fine silver is 99.9% silver and is the purest form used for jewelry making.
Sterling silver is 92.5% silver and 7.5% of another metal, usually copper. It has a fineness of 925.
Coin silver is used in some countries and could be marked “900” or “800” depending on fineness. 900 silver is 90% silver and 10 % copper, and 800 silver is 80 percent silver and 20 percent copper.
Sterling components and jewelry made in the USA are often stamped “Sterling.” Goods made for international trade are often marked “925” indicating the 92.5% or sterling fineness.
Other markings may be seen that are less clear. “Mexican Silver”, “German Silver,” “Indian Silver,” “Montana Silver,” or simply “silver” do not guarantee any silver content. “German Silver” is another name for the alloy of Copper, Nickel and Zinc usually called Nickel Silver. Despite the name, Nickel Silver contains no silver.
Caring for Silver Jewelry
We use the best Fine and Sterling Silver available on the market today. However, all silver does tarnish. We recommend that you do not wear your jewelry in the shower, hot tub, sauna, ocean, or swimming pool. Exposure to these environments will only quicken the tarnishing process.
The high chlorine and/or Bromine contents used in swimming pools and hot tubs will accelerate tarnishing. The high content of minerals in your water source may accelerate the tarnishing of Silver jewelry also. Even the chemical makeup and oils of your skin will contribute to the tarnishing of Silver jewelry. The life span of your jewelry will depend on the care you give it.