What is sterling silver?
Sterling silver is one of the world’s most popular precious metals for crafting high quality jewellery that shines with radiance! While pure silver is fine, soft, malleable and easily damaged, sterling silver is mixed with other alloys to strengthen its make-up and increase its durability. This makes it perfect for crafting sterling silver jewellery necklaces, unique silver bracelets, men’s silver jewellery, women’s silver earrings and sterling silver cufflinks.
In general, copper is the most popular alloy with which pure sterling silver is merged. This has been used for centuries as it does wonders for increasing the strength of silver yet doesn’t tarnish its beautiful colour and resplendent gleam. It also has very little effect on the value of the metal which ensures sterling silver comprising a copper alloy is still precious and valuable. Price is also determined by the labour involved in the manufacturing process, the intricacy of the design and the skill of the craftsman.
The most commonly manufactured combination is made up of 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper which results in a minimum millesimal fineness of 925 – hence where the term 925 sterling silver comes from!
For those who aren’t familiar with the term ‘millesimal fineness,’ it refers to the system of classifying the purity of precious metals such as platinum, gold and silver alloys. This is done by determining how many parts per thousand of pure metal mass exist in the alloy.
Stamps of quality or fineness are usually found on the undersides of sterling silver items which can be used to determine the pure silver content of the metal. They will also be accompanied by a registered trademark or maker’s mark which helps determine an items origin.
Taking proper care of your sterling silver jewellery is incredibly important as a well-loved and meticulously maintained item will last a lifetime! When storing your pieces, try to wrap them in a soft cloth of pouch to prevent damage and scratching. Chemicals should also be avoided, as should handling sharp objects that may scratch the surface such as rocks or scourers.
To give your sterling silver jewellery a new lease on life, make sure you regularly clean it to upkeep the shine and prevent tarnish build up. A natural dulling occurs due to sulphur and hydrogen sulphide in the air however this can be easily removed with silver polishes and tarnish cloths. These can be found at most department or specialty jewellery stores and will keep your sterling silver bright, sparkling and brilliant!
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