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Sterling Silver Jewelry: Some Fast Facts

Aug 17, 2007
Silver is one of the three classic precious metals, alongside gold and platinum. All three of which have been used for centuries in the production of fine jewelry. Fine (bullion) silver, which refers to silver at 99.9% purity, is too soft and malleable for most uses, used most often for the production of minted treasury bars. When it comes to the manufacture of jewelry, sterling silver is the metal of choice.

This type of alloy is a mixture of pure silver and, typically, copper. The ratio of which is 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper, though other metals are used on occasion as well (e.g., nickel and zinc) to form the alloy.

The addition of other metals provides for hardness and durability as well as to aid in the prevention of tarnishing. Silver manufactured in this form has a natural white luster, though is prone to tarnish due to a reaction occurring between the silver itself and sulfur in the atmosphere. As well, oxygen may tarnish the copper content of sterling silver.

The term 'sterling silver' itself apparently emerged in England around the 13th century, a product of a convergence of terms in reference to 925 silver - i.e. it's formal name. The meaning seems to reference a 'firmly planted little star', likely a reference to the metals' luster and durability. Another perspective on the emergence of the term puts forth the notion that the term in question stems from an area in modern day Germany (circa 1300 AD) called the 'Easterling'. It was in this particular area that sterling based silver emerged as component of primary local currency.

Silver with such a durable base as a form of currency was later adopted by the English and remained a mainstay for centuries. Today, however, the metal is no longer prevalent as minted currency. Despite this, this type of silver, harder than gold, more plentiful, and more affordable, remains popular as a precious metal for a host of other purposes.

Sterling silver was extremely popular in the form of flatware and ornamental dining implements from the late 19th to early 20th centuries. Today however, it is most popular as the base metal for quality, fashionable - yet affordable - jewelry.

Sterling silver can be fashioned into a wide variety of interesting and ornamental jewelry pieces. From rings, bracelets, charms, necklaces, to sterling silver earrings. Silver is extremely popular among both jewelry artisans and consumers.

If this is the type of adornment you are looking for, maybe as a gift for the special girl in your life, you cannot go wrong with sterling silver jewelry.
About the Author
Jake Kennedy is editor and publisher of the webs most fascinating Sterling Silver Jewelry website. For more fast facts on these beautiful pieces of jewelry check out: Sterling Silver Bracelet
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