Sterling silver is an alloy that is composed of 92.5% of silver and 7.5% of some other metal, commonly copper or nickel. These metals bring strength, durability and an extra luster to the silver. It is a good option when you want a range of colors in your jewelry.
It comes with unmatched durability and is considered as the most stable silver among other silver alloys. The lead, which usually tarnishes gold, oxidized sterling silver over time rather than making it go black or grey.
How can I know if I identify sterling silver?
Genuine Sterling Silver should have a hallmark that identifies it as such. There are several versions of the sterling silver hallmark. You may see .925 stamped on the silver. Alternately look for the words STER, STERLING, STG, or Sterling Silver.
If you are worried whether sterling silver is durable, rest easy. This is a hard metal that will last through the ages. If any surface scratches or damage occurs, sterling silver can easily be polished back to its smooth shine. In addition to that, resizing and repairs are very reasonably priced, so maintaining sterling silver jewelry is easily done.
When buying sterling silver jewelry it is important to understand a few things. This metal was used in jewelry since ancient times and has only recently been replaced partially by other metals. Here are some things that you should know before buying it.
1. Quality of Silver
If you're looking to buy a sterling silver necklace, it's very important to know how to identify real silver jewelry. Since the advent of the internet, there has been a rise in production and selling of fake sterling silver.
Unless you are shopping from an established jeweler with a solid reputation (or vintage store), chances are good that you could be purchasing fake sterling silver products.
2. The Hallmark:
A hallmark is the official stamp that marks your piece of jewelry as genuine. This mark is actually placed by skilled craftsmen into each piece of silver sold by the English Royal Mint, in Sheffield, or in Australia. In order to receive this prestigious status, your piece must meet certain standards of quality.
3. Treating your fine silver:
Taking care of fine silver may be a tiring process but it is necessary if you want to preserve its luster and quality. Silver is inherently unstable on its own and interacts with oxygen in the air which can make it corrode over time and change its color. Fine silver needs to undergo several treatments to halt this process. The most basic are polishing with a polishing cloth, boiling in water (never use soap), or rinsing under running water.
Silver is an extremely malleable and ductile metal. It can be hammered into sheets just a few thousandths of a millimeter thick. However, silver is also very hard, which means it won't deform further. This strength is crucial in the manufacture of jewelry – fine silver easily develops dents and bends that are difficult to remove without damaging the piece.