Silver like gold, is one of the oldest metals used in jewelry making. Due to its ability to be resistant to tarnishing when worn, silver has become a symbol for purity. Today, the metal is popular for use not only in household items but also with jewelries because of its versatility and affordability.
Silver in its purest form is not wearable because of its softness resulting to the metal being mixed with other metals when used for jewelry. The mixing of the metal alloy strengthens the silver allowing one to wear it for an extended period without the jewelry losing its shape.
Fine silvers are expensive because these contain 99.9 percent of silver with the 1 percent containing other alloy or metal parts. These silver pieces usually have a stamp of 999 to indicate the percentage of silver used in the piece. Another type of fine silver is the sterling silvers which contain 92.5 percent of the metal with the remaining 7.5 percent made up of copper or other metal alloys. However, copper is the preferred choice by jewelers because it complements the silver metal and improves its durability and hardness.
Silver plated jewelry or electroplated ones are common especially for fashion pieces as these make use of less silver while still maintaining its beauty as well as durability. These pieces often use silver to coat the base metal and this is done through electroplating process or filling.
Argentium silver is the latest in the sterling silver alloy and is composed of copper, pure silver as well as germanium. This type of metal is harder and has anti-bacterial properties as well as hypoallergenic as it does not contain any nickel.
When buying jewelry pieces made of silver, it is important to check the markings stamped on the inside of the piece. The markings will show the percentage of silver used. For those who have sensitive skin, it is a must to ask if the pieces contain any nickel n it as most people have allergic reactions to nickel. For occasional wear, silver plated ones are ideal as it has the look and feel of a true silver piece but are less expensive. Do take note that plated jewelries should not be worn daily as the thin layer may wear away and expose the base metal, and cause skin irritation.
To ensure that silver pieces do not tarnish, it is a must to regularly wear the pieces to prevent any oxidation. Pieces that are not worn should be placed in a cool and dry place. Some stores offer jewelry casings with soft cloth preventing the jewelries from coming in contact with one another. Another way to maintain it is to use solutions and jewelry cloths to polish and remove tarnish. Some cleaning solutions may contain ammonia or hydrogen sulfide and other chemicals that may cause damage to the silver.