Fashion Magazine

Comment on Sterling Silver Jewelry; Precious Metal Prologue by Ceely W.

By Quirky Girl @QuirkyGirlz_com

Hello everyone! Today I thought we would talk about Sterling Silver since I am adding a Sterling Silver jewelry line to my collection. When learning to be a silversmith, it became important to learn about all of the different kinds of metals. In case you do not know, the definition of a silversmith is a craftsman who creates objects from silver or gold. I thought you might find this information interesting as you search for your perfect piece of jewelry.

Silver is a precious metal and has been used for thousands of years to make utensils, ornaments and money. Its value has often been considered only secondary to gold. In folklore, silver is thought to produce purifying effects. It was thought that it would ward off evil and turn water into some type of a healing potion. Silver prices often fluctuate, but April 2011 brought the highest price ever for silver at $49.76 an ounce. The price of silver in the market will affect the price that you pay for sterling silver jewelry; due to the cost the jeweler must pay to acquire the raw materials.

Do you know why Sterling Silver will turn color forcing you to clean it more often than you would like? It is because Sterling Silver (which is also known as Standard Silver) is a mix of 9.25 percent silver and 7.5 percent copper; it has a lower melting point than pure copper or pure silver. The copper is blended into the silver because pure silver (or fine silver as it is known) is too soft to be used in jewelry. Copper will not discolor it, but give it enough strength so that it may be used for decorative purposes such as silver flatware or jewelry.

This silver and copper mix is known as .925 silver, and this is what you will sometimes see stamped on the back of your jewelry. It must be a minimum of 92.5 percent silver to be marketed as silver in the United States. Often a thin coating of .999 fine silver is applied to sterling silver to give it a more shiny finish. It may also be plated with Rhodium with a process called flashing. Rhodium is often chosen because it is very shiny and it does not tarnish, but this is a more expensive option when compared to a silver finish.

Since Copper is mixed with fine silver to create Sterling Silver, I thought I might as well take this opportunity to offer you some facts about Copper as well, since I also use this material in some of my jewelry designs. Copper is considered a basic element and is known to be the eighth most abundant metal that is contained within the earth’s crust. It contains over 160 different compounds and interesting enough chrysocolla, and malachite are two of the compounds, which are also considered beautiful semi-precious stones by themselves!

Copper is a vibrant reddish color and when it is polished it takes on an even and bright luster finish. It naturally oxidizes, which you will note as your copper jewelry naturally gets darker. Most people refer to this process with the term “patina”. Often, various types of sealants are applied to the surface of this metal to slow down the oxidation process. Copper is beautiful when used in jewelry designs.

I hope you found this information interesting, now I would love to hear your comments. Take a moment and check out the photos I have included. What did you learn about silver or copper that you did not know? What is your favorite metal choice when you are choosing jewelry?

Photo of Native Copper

A photo of Native Copper

Photo of Silver Bullion Bar

Silver Bullion Bar

Photo of Sterling Silver Lapis Necklace

Sterling Silver Lapis Necklace

Yellow Turquoise and Copper Necklace Photo

Yellow Turquoise and Copper Necklace\

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