A Comparative Guide on the Different Types of Silver Used in Jewelry
Oct 08, 2019 08:34
If you want to learn more about the different types of silver, you should check out this comparative guide. Click here to learn more.
From shimmering rings to brilliant bracelets and sparkling necklaces, silver is a classic material used to make all kinds of gorgeous jewelry.
If you're interested in buying silver jewelry, you should know that there are different types of silver used to create your favorite accessories.
This helpful guide discusses the comparisons between the various types of silver. Read on to learn more before you make your next jewelry purchase.
Fine Silver: .999
If you see jewelry made from .999 silver, it's the closest metal to the pure element of silver itself.
When you see this three-digit number, it means that the silver is 99.9% pure.
Any remaining .01 percent is usually comprised of trace elements that have very little significance to the overall quality of the piece. You'll notice a brighter luster and brilliant shine on anything crafted of fine silver.
It's important to note that fine silver is quite soft and can dent, scratch, and even change its shapes pretty easily. Many jewelers choose not to use fine silver since it has a shorter lifespan when worn on the body.
Since fine silver is so soft, it works well for earrings and necklaces.
As for rings or bracelets, it may not last as long since those pieces typically need to withstand more rigorous wear and can bump against objects, causing damage.
Look for a stamp that shows .999 FS or just .999 by itself to indicate fine silver construction.
Sterling Silver: .925
When it comes to the most popular of all different types of silver, sterling is the quality standard.
This type of silver jewelry is especially prevalent in Europe, the United States, and among other world markets across the globe.
The alloy is made of 92.5% silver and the other 7.5% is most commonly comprised of copper.
To increase the hardness and density of the alloy, other metals are usually added. This makes the jewelry more durable, and it gives the silver a nice, brilliant shine that lures customers into making a purchase.
Most people are widely familiar with how sterling silver looks. And even though it's quite shiny, it can also tarnish rather easily.
It's almost impossible to fully prevent sterling silver from tarnishing, but you can keep it clean by polishing it regularly. Make sure you know how to compare the differences between sterling and regular silver.
You'll find the famous .925 or .925 STG stamp on sterling silver jewelry and other products.
A few high-end pieces made of sterling silver are plated with rhodium to keep them polished and shiny.
This coating may cause the jewelry to cost more but it's worth it to keep your jewelry from getting tarnished.
Silver-Filled and Silver-Plated
Some silver jewelry features layered metal that includes serling silver on the surface.
Inside of this silver-filled jewelry is either five or 10 percent sterling silver by weight. The internal layer of silver is fused using heat and pressure attached to a brass core.
The concept of silver-filled jewelry is still fairly new and it's not currently standardized in the United States.
Since it is layered, it also cannot be cast into specific shapes.
Silver-filled items feature a thicker layer of silver than silver-plated products but are still considered lower quality than other types of this precious metal. Anything labeled as silver-filled tarnishes easily and does not feature any kind of quality stamp.
Silver-plated jewelry features a thin layer of silver over the surface of base metal. If you see jewelry labeled as silver-plated, it contains a very small percentage of actual silver.
You can usually find this form of jewelry at an extremely affordable price.
The material tends to tarnish quickly and wears off due to its ultra-thin layer. The metal underneath is exposed and leaves behind an unattractive, yellowish color.
Tibetan and Other Foreign Silver Types
Some types of silver come from different parts of the world.
Tibetan silver is a common style found in many different pieces of jewelry. This "tribal" silver is made of base metal alloys that are merely silver in appearance only.
Anything labeled as Tibetan silver actually contains very little or even no silver at all. Because it comes from unique places, it may contain dangerous metals including lead. Be wary when you purchase anything called Tibetan silver.
Other silver coming from around the world includes places like Thailand and Mexico.
This silver should always display the .925 stamp somewhere on it to confirm the safety and quality level.
Many foreign countries use low-grade silver alloys, so pay close attention to the country of origin before
buying anything labeled as silver jewelry. When you buy Mexican, Tibetan, or other types of silver, there's no guarantee of the actual silver content.
Always make sure you buy silver jewelry from reputable, trustworthy vendors and sellers. Avoid buying anything from bargain websites, at cruise ship stops, or from street corner vendors.
Now You Understand the Different Types of Silver
Whether you're looking for the perfect ring or seeking out a shiny necklace, understanding the different types of silver can help you find the best piece for the best price.
Whether it's fine silver or sterling, you can easily spot the differences once you know what to look for.
Try to avoid silver labeled as silver-plated since it can tarnish quite easily. Look for quality stamps on each piece so you know you're getting an authentic piece of jewelry.
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