Different Types of Silver Jewelry

Posted by JewelryKind

Silver is a beautiful, classic-looking metal. It looks stunning on people with cool skin tones, and many of us with warm tones love it so much that we mix it with our gold jewelry! Once you’ve determined that you want silver jewelry, your next step is to determine which type is best for you. Let’s examine some of the most popular options when it comes to silver.

The silver we wear is almost always mixed with a small amount of other metals (often copper), because pure silver is too soft for most types of jewelry. The most common of these mixtures, or alloys, is called sterling silver. Sterling silver is 92.5 percent silver and 7.5 percent other metals, although other proportions exist with different names. Sterling silver will usually be stamped with the number 925, although sometimes it may also have the word ‘sterling’ or ‘sterling silver’ to prove its authenticity. The three-digit number indicates that the sterling silver is 925 parts silver to 75 parts of another metal, or 925 parts silver out of every 1000 parts.

Most silver is stamped to let the buyer know how much silver the alloy actually contains. You might be surprised to realize how much (or little) silver is in many of our everyday objects! Forks and spoons, which we call ‘silverware’, are only made of metal that is 80 percent silver. Silver coins in the United States contain 90 percent silver. Occasionally, some items will be made with a mixture containing 95 or 98 percent silver, but these items are not usually meant to be worn. When it comes to jewelry, sterling silver is the “gold standard.” The high percentage of silver makes it a high quality metal that’s still strong, durable, and resistant to scratches. 92.5 percent seems to be the perfect balance.

Silver plating is an affordable way to get the appearance of silver without paying for the full weight of sterling or fine silver, but it’s not your best choice for jewelry. While regular silver never loses its value, no matter how tarnished it becomes, silver plated objects and jewelry can depreciate in value over time.

The silver plating can rub off, exposing ugly, cheaper metals that can irritate skin. Fortunately, most reputable online jewelry stores (jewelrykind.com included!) sell only sterling silver products. If the seller doesn’t tell you that it’s sterling silver and you can’t find a stamp on it, it’s probably silver-plated.

In conclusion, your best bet for silver jewelry is almost always sterling silver. It won’t depreciate or rub away on you like silver-plated, and it’s stronger and more durable than pure silver. It might seem cheaper at the time to buy silver-plated jewelry, but keep in mind that it will likely be ruined within a couple of years. By contrast, sterling silver costs a little more up front, but not having to replace your entire jewelry box every few years saves you money in the long run. Whether you’re buying a bracelet, silver earrings, or a necklace, keep in mind that your sterling silver pieces will probably live longer than your grandchildren! Happy shopping, everyone.

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