There are thousands of options when it comes to jewelry. From elaborate costume jewelry to delicate fine jewelry, there is a very wide range of pieces in the jewelry market. Sometimes it can be hard to tell the difference between the materials that jewelry is made from. This is often the case with sterling silver jewelry and regular silver jewelry. There is actually a difference between the two, although they are both made with real silver. Now is the time to stop and ask yourself “What is sterling silver jewelry?”
What Is Sterling Silver Jewelry?
What exactly is sterling silver made of? Sterling silver is defined as 92.5% pure silver, and the rest another alloy metal such as copper, iron, or steel. The 7.5% different metal improves the durability of the finished material. This combination is ideal because fine jewelry is soft and prone to bending and breaking. Sterling silver does not simply mean that the piece is plated with silver that will eventually rub off.
The Benefits Of Sterling Silver
There are many benefits to turning pure silver into sterling silver. The allow of sterling silver hardens the pieces and allows them to retain their shape over time. In addition to maintaining the hardness and shape of the piece, the mixed alloy makes sterling silver less expensive. To sum up the process, sterling silver means watering down the purity of the silver with less expensive metals to improve the strength and durability of the finished product.
A common problem that comes with sterling silver is tarnish. Pure silver does not typically tarnish, although it can get black residue when exposed to sulfur. Sterling silver, on the other hand, can tarnish due to the way the alloy reacts to water and air. Silver that looks aged and dark in color means that it has oxidized. Some jewelers and consumers actually prefer this boho tarnished look.
Keeping Sterling Silver Tarnish-Free
There are ways to prevent sterling silver from tarnishing. When buying sterling silver jewelry, rub your finger over the metal and take note of any smudges on your skin. If you see any residue, it will probably worsen with time. Do no wear sterling silver jewelry in the shower or pool, because water and humidity can speed up the tarnishing process.
Uses of Sterling Silver
Sterling silver is used for many products. In addition to jewelry such as earrings, necklaces, rings and bracelets, sterling silver is seen in a variety of other household products. Silverware, plates, cups, mirrors, hair clips, electronics, and just about any decorative piece you can think of has used sterling silver.
When buying a piece of jewelry, it is important to understand the materials that it is made of to know what you are investing in. Ensure a long-lasting relationship with your favorite piece of jewelry by learning more about sterling silver.