What You Need to Know about Silver Jewelry
Whether you’re interested in purchasing a single piece of silver jewelry or building a collection of high-quality silver jewelry designs, you will benefit from learning how silver is processed and graded. To help you get the vital facts and information that you need, we’ve created a practical guideline that contains plenty of interesting information about silver.
What is Silver?
Silver is a metallic chemical element that goes by the chemical symbol, Ag. Known for its whitish-grey shimmer, this metal is found in nature, in the form of native silver. Silver may also be used as part of alloys. For example, it may be combined with gold or other metals and minerals. Silver may also be produced as a by-product of certain metals, including gold, lead, copper and zinc.
How is Silver Used?
For centuries, silver has been prized for its beauty, purity and functionality. Whether it is used as a financial investment (for example, silver ingots may be stockpiled for eventual resale) or used to create jewelry (or elegant flatware, or a range of other decorative items), it remains a popular choice with discerning consumers all over the world.
However, silver metal is also used in industrial applications. For example, it may be used to create electronic contacts, due to its high conductivity.
What is Sterling Silver?
Sterling silver is commonly perceived as pure silver. However, in reality, it is an alloy of silver. Pure silver is characterized as fine silver, and it contains a pure silver percentage of 99.9. Since pure silver is too soft for most commercial applications, including jewelry design, the alloy, sterling silver, is used to give the metal more strength and durability. Sterling silver contains 92.5 % pure silver; usually, the rest of the alloy is composed of copper.
By adding a base metal, such as copper, in order to create a sterling silver alloy, manufacturers give consumers access to a hardier product that will retain its beauty over time.
Why Does Silver Tarnish?
If silver touches something that contains Hydrogen Sulfide, it will tarnish. A lot of common household products, such as rubber bands, wool, fossil fuel derivatives, and rubber gloves contain Hydrogen Sulfide. Certain foods, including eggs and onions, also contain compounds that will cause silver to tarnish. Climate also plays a role in whether or not silver tarnishes quickly or at a slower rate. A lot of humidity will cause rapid tarnishing of silver.
To remove tarnish from silver, use a mild detergent that is phosphate-free. There are also commercial silver cleaners that remove tarnish from silver jewelry, flatware and other silver items.
How is Silver Jewelry Stamped?
Stamps for jewelry are also known as hallmarks. Hallmarks for sterling silver will vary from nation to nation. To see if a piece of sterling silver is the real thing, look for a stamp somewhere on the piece. Genuine sterling silver will always have a hallmark.
Our traditional and authentic Celtic jewelry designs are handcrafted right in the Emerald Isle. Each sterling silver piece, such as an Irish Claddagh Ring or Trinity Knot pendant, will be stamped with the designation, 925.
The tradition of Irish Hallmarks began back in the 15th century. The Assay Office (found in historic Dublin Castle) opened its doors, and those employed by this office began inspecting all precious metal in Ireland. They created distinctive markings that denoted the particular purity of each precious metal type. 925 was the number selected, because all Irish sterling silver needed to contain a ratio of 925 parts finest silver, per 1000 parts.
When it comes to collecting silver jewelry that has the finest quality and the most durable finish, choosing sterling silver jewelry will always be a very smart choice. Because sterling silver jewelry retains its value and beauty through the years, it offers owners access to affordable and stunning rings, earrings, bracelets and necklaces.
Sterling silver costs far less than white or yellow gold. That’s why Irish Celtic Jewels is able to offer a dazzling array of genuine, hallmarked sterling silver designs for such reasonable prices.
Each piece of sterling silver jewelry that we provide to our valued clientele is stamped is crafted entirely by hand, and then hallmarked within the hallowed halls of Dublin Castle.