Silver is symbolic of your richness and luxury over many centuries. A phrase commonly used to depict this statement , “silver spoon” is often used.
Just as gold, palladium, and platinum, Silver is also a precious and valuable metal. They are also considered as rare metals. Silver has been in use since a long time, around 3000 BC, and is known for several uses it offers. Silver has been a common and popular metal known and used for jewellery due to its elasticity, stability, and attractive color.
Silver is usually associated and linked to jewellery. If one talks of silver, most of the time, they mean it with jewellery. However, jewellery is not the only use that silver offers. Not only silver is a good conductor of electricity, has antibacterial properties, but also it has several uses in medical and technological fields.
What Type of Silver should I buy?
Numerous varieties of silver are being sold in the market. Out of all, sterling silver, pure silver, and silver plate are the common ones.
Sterling Silver is a mixture of 92.5% and 7.5% other metals, usually copper and nickel. Due to the presence of these metals, silver gets more strength, resilience, and lustre. This composition results in a more endured quality of silver , which is the quality standard for jewellery. It originated in around 1300 as the well-known standard for jewellery. Since Tiffany & Co. utilised sterling silver in their jewellery, they promoted this standard in America.
How can I identify sterling silver?
There should be a hallmark that should be present on genuine sterling silver to make it easy to identify. There are a variety of styles in which hallmarks are present on silver. One of the ways is .925 stamping on sterling silver. Apart from this, terms like STER, STERLING, STG, or Sterling Silver are used as an alternative. If the silver has a stamping of 800 on it, it simply means it is of European origin.
You might be concerned about the durability and longevity of Sterling silver. But, there is no need for it since it is a hard metal that will last long. Even if any scratch or damage comes on the Sterling silver, it can be polished back and regain its shine and texture. Also, its resizing and repairing can be easily done at nominal costs, thereby making it easier to keep it in a good condition.
Fine Silver is the one that is equivalent to pure silver. It is composed of 99.9% silver and .1% minor trace elements that are very less in quantity. The hallmark to such silver is marked as .999.
Pure silver, despite being better in quality and purity, becomes too delicate and sensitive to be moulded and used in making jewellery. Since such silver is easily damaged and has malleable properties, i.e, it can be easily bent, its form and shape loses over time. Fine silver is ideal for making earrings and pendants, and not for those items that are open to rough use or maximum usage.
Silver plate is similar to a gold plate. It is usually a base metal that is often copper and the top layer is coated with a thin film of silver. Therefore, it can be seen that a silver plate has a little quantity of fine silver or sterling silver that is filmed. The layering could also diminish with time and the color can also fade off gradually.
There are a variety of silver that are available in the market, namely, Britannia silver, currency silver, german silver, nickel silver, tribal silver, and mexican silver. The amount of silver contained by all these form may vary.
Note on Silver hallmarks-
The tiny microscopic stamps that are found in various parts of silver, known as hallmark. It can be seen with the help of a microscope and a lot of patience. This is the quickest way to check if your silver is genuine.
Sometimes, fake marks can be present but this is not common.
There may be some jewellery that does not have the area to get stamped for hallmarks, even though it might be pure and valuable.
Is Sterling Silver valuable?
As compared to gold, palladium, and platinum, Sterling Silver is reasonably priced. This is due to the fact that silver is mined in greater quantities as compared to other metals.
Sterling Silver is considered one of the most attractive metals which has a brilliant color texture and shine. Sterling silver is ideal for any budget and jewellery enthusiast since it is a fraction of the price of gold or platinum.
Why does Silver tarnish?
A person who has used Sterling Silver knows well that it loses its shine and color with time.
But, fine silver does not tarnish easily and maintains its color, as already mentioned.
However, Sterling Silver is exposed to air and humidity and therefore, it tarnishes over time. Tarnishing happens because copper in the mixture reacts with the moisture and sulphur in the air. This happens with the silver reaction and causes discoloration. Also, keep in mind, if silver gets exposed to chemicals like cosmetics, perfume, lotions, sprays, and detergents, it gets tarnished quickly.
Preventing Silver tarnish
No matter what quality or price your Sterling silver is, it tends to tarnish over time. One cannot stop it, but it can still be prevented.
Storage is an important way by which you can prevent silver from getting tarnished. The silver should be preserved in an airtight container. You can also add anti-tarnish strips into it. Sealed packaging is important to keep it intact and help to prevent tarnishing. One more method to store silver is in an airtight jewellery box, or a low humidity storage box. You can include silica gel or a piece of chalk to absorb the air.
Chemicals and Exposure-
As mentioned above, it is clearly seen that the most effective method to store silver is keeping it out of air. Therefore, it recommended storing in an airtight container. When silver is worn, body oils and other such elements are secreted which speed up the process of tarnishing. Also, it is advisable to keep silver away from contact of water even before swimming or taking a shower. The chemicals, body fluids, and any material containing sulphur like latex, or wool should be kept away from silver. You should not take it in contact with cosmetics, makeup or perfume. Silver jewelley should be worn in the last.
Besides storage, maintenance is also an important point to be considered. Use warm water and soap if you have to wash your silver. Use a soft cloth to clean the dry water spots and store it carefully. Polishing is another way that can be done in order to slow down the process of tarnishing.
What to do if Silver is already tarnished?
If your silver jewellery is already tarnished and has a black coating on its surface, you can get that polished to remove that coating.
- In order to clean silver jewellery, you should use a silver jewellery cleaner. Use a little polish and a soft cloth to buff the silver several times. Rinse the silver with warm water to remove cleaning.
- Use a silver polishing cloth in order to polish the silver. It is advised not to rub the silver in circles as this will highlight the scratches. Instead, it should be massaged back and forth.
- You can get your silver cleaned in a professional manner by taking it to the jeweller.
- Clean the silver jewellery using a silver cleaning dip. Also, commercial dips are available, however, they may even pose a threat to health as well as harm the silver’s surface too.
Another safer method is to make your silver cleaning dip at home. The procedure is as follows-
Take a bowl, and place it with aluminium foil. Add some baking soda to it and pour boiling water on it. After adding water, add some vinegar to it. The next step is to soak silver for some minutes so that it absorbs all the materials. You will see the tarnish getting removed and after that, you may take the jewellery items out and wipe them off. This method is considered a fast, affordable and very easy way to retain the shine and lustre of your silver.
There are several other ways by which you can prepare silver cleaning solutions at home, as they are harmless.
How to Choose Silver Jewellery
There are a variety of designs and styles in which Sterling silver jewellery is available. There will be silver items to fit your interests, whether you are a maxima list or a minimalist, a vintage enthusiast or a modern diva. It is such a adaptable method that it can suit any occasion and event.
Sterling silver earrings
There are a variety of styles and designs starting from casual to formal.
Studs in sterling silver and hoops are ideal for daily wear and look perfect with either work wear outfits or casual outfits. For a standard formal look, you may choose silver drop earrings or chandelier earrings.
Sterling silver charm bracelets
Charm bracelets made of Sterling silver are in vogue these days. It is also a great thing that can be gifted as charms can always be added to the bracelet.
There are a variety of charms that can be added to your charms such as European charms, crystal and glass charms, Pandora charms, and Italian charms. Every charm has their own appearance and identity, therefore, you may choose any one of your choice. Every taste and preference will get charms according to their choice.
Sterling silver cuffs
Sterling silver cuffs are one of those statement pieces that can be worn with either jeans and tshirt to a formal dress. If you want smaller pieces, you should go for a cuff that has a thinner width. As compared to standard bracelets, cuffs are considered more attractive and eye-catching.
Sterling silver necklaces and pendants
There are a variety of options based on your choices that can be chosen. A snake chain or an Omega chain gives silver soft and smooth appearance, whereas classic rope-like look can be obtained from Rombo, Singapore, or Figaro chains.
There are a variety of shapes and sizes in which Sterling silver pendants are available, which makes easy for people to choose from the collection.
Sterling Silver vs White Gold
White Gold and Sterling silver are similar in appearance. A person who does not have keen knowledge about them, will find both as same. Both of them are alloys and posses a perfect white shine on their surface. However, apart from similarities, white gold and Sterling silver have differences too.
One of the most important factors on the basis of which white gold and sterling silver can be differentiated is their value. Even though both the metals are precious and valuable. White Gold is more expensive than silver, hence silver is the most reasonable and effective variety of metals for jewelry.
As compared to white gold and sterling silver, the former one is easy and simple to maintain as it does not get oxidised or tarnished. Very little or no amount of cleaning is required to clean it and maintain its shine and lustre. The rhodium coating on the white gold, on the other hand, can wear thin over time and will need to be reapplied by a competent jeweller.
White gold is tough and durable and can resist damage, scratches, and impact than silver. This resistance makes it an ideal choice for those who prioritise durability and longevity.
Any metal chosen by you totally depends on your preference and priorities. All of them have their own merits and flaws.
Is sterling silver hypoallergenic?
The answer to this question is yes. The sterling silver is hypoallergenic and it does not irritate your skin. The metal that causes allergies and irritation to skin is nickel, which is a rare metal to be used in alloys of sterling silver.
Copper and zinc, that are mostly used, are safe. In order to prevent any problems that might arise in future, it is recommended to get in touch with your jewellery and consult him about the metals that the alloys comprise of.
Shopping for silver jewellery
There are many factors that need to be kept in mind –
- It is advisable to buy from a reputed retailer. You may check for reviews online about the retailer. You can enquire about the questions prior to purchase and get in touch with the seller.
- You should check the silver for the hallmark. It depicts about the purity of the silver. There also might be chances that you may not find the hallmark and it could be very small in size.
- You should ask about the metals that the alloys contain. If you have a metal sensitive from allergies, it is probable that it contains nickel.
- Before purchasing, you should check for after sales policies. Warranty, returns and such other things should be discussed. Also, shipping policies need to be checked if purchasing online.
Any jewellery needs proper care and maintenance to ensure its life and preserve its shine, color and lustre. To know more about silver jewellery and various kinds of its variants, get in touch with a professional designer and get the best of the designs and ways to care them all.