That’s how rare it is! No wonder it’s on the list of valuable fantasy-like jewelry.
You might wonder why jewelry makers create sterling silver then and risk de-valuing the precious metal. Read on below to learn more about what is sterling silver and some interesting facts you might not know.
1. Higher Durability
Pure silver (or fine silver) has the highest purity and consists of 99.9% natural silver. This makes it more valuable than sterling silver but is also harder to use. There’s a reason why it isn’t commonly used by jewelry makers.
It might be more valuable than sterling silver, but pure silver alone is not durable enough. This is too soft and malleable and not ideal for most jewelry making processes. It is also more prone to dents and scratches, especially as time passes by.
By combining pure silver with different metals like copper, you can address all these problems. You will have a stronger metal and give some extra nice luster which makes it more appealing. If you prefer something more durable and that will last on you, use sterling silver instead.
2. Number 925
If you’ve noticed the numerical markings on some of the metals, you might find yourself wondering about their purpose. These hallmarks are not for decoration but rather for an actual functional purpose. This is for the buyers to know the purity percentage composition of a specific chemical on a metal.
Sterling silvers are 92.5 percent of pure silver; hence the name.
The rest of the percentage is from different types of metals. One of the most popular materials for sterling silver is copper. This is because the copper makes it more durable and lets the silver maintain its hardness for a long time.
3. A Popular Choice for Jewelry
Pure and sterling silvers are among the most sought-after materials for jewelry. Everything made out of pure silver is a luxury product because the material is too rare.
With sterling silver, you have a wider variety of jewelry you can choose from. There are so many different affordable styles and designs to explore.
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4. Why Hallmarks Exist at All
Aside from the number markings, you can also see a symbol or logo present on the metal products like plates, drinking glass, and accessories.
These symbols are part of the practice of hallmarking. It is a type of consumer protection that guarantees not only the purity of the metal but its quality as well.
Services known as Assay offices create these hallmarks. They are the ones who check the quality of the silver. Afterward, they will mark it with a special hallmark once they prove authenticity.
All these security measures and protocols stem from the fact that there is a lot of fake sterling silver sold everywhere.
These fake replicas originated in the 12th century and are still frequent today. To make some profit, people began to replicate sterling jewelry. They would sell it at a much lower price to encourage others to buy it.
5. Sterling Silver Authenticity
Even with the extensive protocols to stop fake sterling silver from circulating the market, some still slip the radar. Read on to learn how to check if you have real sterling silver.
Firstly, you should search for the aforementioned special quality mark. Take care, however as some fake products claim to be authentic with special marks. Another way to know is to use your nose because silver shouldn’t smell a thing.
If you have a magnet at your disposal, put it over the jewelry. Precious metals are non-ferrous metals, so if the sterling silver sticks to the magnetic, you can be sure that it is fake.
6. Easy to Maintain
Sterling silver is easily tarnished because of its chemical composition. Most of the problem lies with the copper. It has atomic properties that react to oxygen molecules that result in discoloration.
There are several ways to prevent tarnishing your jewelry:
If you wear jewelry often, consider preventing skin to metal contact. You can expect different substances like body oils and makeup to stick on the surface. It is crucial to wear it last so you don’t put anything corrosive by accident.
To clean the silver, submerge it in warm soapy water. Scrub the sterling silver from one end to another with a soft toothbrush. Rinse it with a new warm bowl of water and use a soft cloth to dry it off.
Make sure you have dedicated storage when you’re not using it at the moment. Try to make it as airtight as possible for protection from natural environmental conditions.
7. Not Hypoallergenic
If you’re diagnosed with a metal allergy, wearing the right jewelry might prove to be a challenge. There are hypoallergenic ones created with people who experience allergic reactions in mind.
Precious metals like fine silver and stainless steel are hypoallergenic. Sterling silver may be 92.5% of pure silver but the remaining percentage of metal is a whole different story.
If you’re having an allergy reaction to sterling silver jewelry, it might be the nickel’s fault.
Sterling silver comes from silver combined with zinc and nickel. Nickel allergies are also common, if not the most common metal allergy in the world. If you’re considering using sterling silver, you might risk a zinc allergy or a nickel allergy.
What Is Sterling Silver: Solved
Now you know what is sterling silver and the most astonishing facts about sterling silver! Next time you’re considering buying silver jewelry, keep these in mind.
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