Silver Jewelry

Written by Scott Martin
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Silver jewelry has been cherished by people for thousands of years. For a long time it was considered the second most precious metal after gold. People have always been attracted to silver because it has a brilliant luster, can maintain a high polish, and is easy to work with. When selecting silver jewelry, one needs to be aware of the different types of silver that are available.

Types of Silver in Jewelry

When it comes to silver jewelry, purity is not always the best objective. The purest silver called fine silver, is 999/1000 pure. However, it is too soft for general use and must be mixed with other metals to create alloys that have increased durability.

The most commonly used silver alloy is Sterling silver. This is a combination of 92.5 percent silver and 7.25 percent copper. This creates a mixture that is strong enough for everyday use while maintaining the desired shininess. Jewelry using this alloy will often be stamped with either "925" or "STR." Some silver incorporates rhodium in order to provide a tarnish resistance finish.

Other silver products include silver 800. This is an 80/20 mix of silver and other metals, which is often used in casting since it has greater strength. There are also many jewelry pieces that are silver-plated. This is not a good long-term investment because the silver will eventually wear off. Lastly, one should avoid nickel silver. While this may look similar to silver, it is really a combination of several other metals and contains no silver. More importantly, some people can have an allergic reaction to the nickel.

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