Silver has become a mainstay in jewellery over the last 12 years. The banking crisis affected the price of precious metals particularly gold and this made silver Jewellery a more affordable purchase at the time (prices have levelled since).
Younger jewellery buyers were growing up in a time when silver was ‘King’ and modern and nice to own. Gold was something that their Mums grew up wearing.
In 2017 we find that yellow is returning to fashion, but silver will always have its place and the two now run happily side by side.
So what is silver?
Silver is a metallic element with symbol Ag and atomic number 47. A soft, white, lustrous transition metal, it exhibits the highest electrical conductivity, thermal conductivity, and reflectivity of any metal. The metal is found in the Earth’s crust in its pure, free elemental form. Most silver is produced as a byproduct of copper, gold, lead, and zinc refining.
Silver is an extremely soft, ductile and malleable transition metal, though it is slightly less malleable than gold. Silver has a brilliant white metallic lustre that can take a high polish.
Fine silver, for example 99.9% pure silver, is generally too soft for use in jewellery; therefore, the silver is usually alloyed with copper to give it strength while preserving the ductility and appearance of the precious metal.
Jewellery and silverware are traditionally made from sterling silver, an alloy of 92.5% silver with 7.5% copper. Sterling silver (stamped 925) is harder than pure silver and has a lower melting point (893 °C) than either pure silver or pure copper. Britannia silver is an alternative, hallmark-quality standard containing 95.8% silver (stamped 958), often used for silver tableware and wrought plate.
It is important to note that when purchasing Sterling jewellery you are paying for the craftsmanship and beauty of the piece; not the value according to the weight.
The nature of Silver means it can tarnish, particularly if not worn often or stored properly
The use of cosmetics and other chemicals when they come in contact with your jewellery can cause your silver to tarnish or rub off and have spots with black colour. Certain chemical compounds present in make up, like zinc oxide and calamine may be stronger than the chemical compounds in jewellery and if you can, you should avoid these chemical compounds when purchasing your make up or you may remove your jewellery when applying makeup to avoid some of the compounds from falling and sticking into your jewellery causing abrasion. Your jewellery should be the last thing you put on before leaving the house.
Clean it, sure, polish it, yes, but most of all wear it and enjoy one of our most precious metals.