Sterling Silver – What Shoppers Need to Know

Silver is an element. In its pure state it is a white color and is quite dense, making it a heavy metal. It has remarkable qualities that keep it in demand for many industrial uses. It is the most reflective metal known. It is also the best conductor of heat. An object heated on one end will quickly draw heat across the entire surface, making the entire object hot. This thermal conductivity is essential for many high tech and manufacturing uses. But in its pure state – in most cases – it isn’t really a good metal for making jewelry!

When we refer to the purity of silver, we express it as a number. An object has weight; this number is divided by 1000. This metal is measured in degrees of fineness. It is possible to isolate the pure element, but the process is very expensive and is generally used only for research purposes. The metal is considered pure at 999 out of 1000 parts. This is called fine silver and is expressed as .999 fine.

Fine silver items have to be extra thick, because it is a soft metal and can easily be bent and scratched. To make the metal harder, save weight and make objects more affordable another metal is added. The most common metal added is copper.

British coins were the first objects to be made of sterling. The government didn’t want the coins wearing away quickly in circulation, and needed the metal to be more durable. This is a standard amount of metal to alloy ratio as described above; sterling has more copper in it and so is expressed as a different number – it is .925 fine, or 925 parts per thousand pure. This number can also be weight based. Sterling is 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper by weight. This is why sterling silver jewelry is stamped .925 by the jeweler or artisan who makes the piece. 

Consumers should know what to look for when they are buying jewelry. Almost any shopping experience can be improved if you’re informed. Shoppers know to look for things like 100% Wool on a clothing label. When shopping for fine jewelry look for the quality stamp. This will state what the jewelry is made of. Most items will be marked; 14K means 14 karat gold; .900PT is platinum; and .925 is sterling silver!

Of course there are exceptions. Many items are too small or thin to stamp. These should have a hang tag attached with the metal quality stated on the tag; or the piece should be accompanied by a receipt showing a description of the item  with a statement about the metal quality.

Sterling silver is a remarkable metal. Strong, sparkling and easy to care for, sterling silver jewelry has a universal appeal. Attractive and still affordable, it is a great choice for your next jewelry purchase!

Robert Edwards is a jewelry designer and metalsmith in New York City with more than 30 years of experience in the jewelry trade. He is the webmaster of a very popular silver jewelry website that features handcrafted designs and custom made jewelry.

Choosing Sterling Silver Necklaces For Women

Choosing sterling silver necklaces for women is an exciting undertaking for anyone that elects to engage in this activity. If you are searching for fine jewelry for a special someone, you will find that there are many different options when it comes to sterling silver – especially in necklaces. Sterling silver is a type of metal that is known to be long lasting and naturally attractive. It makes a wonderful gift for any person of any age. Individuals have adorned themselves with sterling silver all throughout history. This type of metal goes with any type of outfit and accessorizes any type of fashion statement appropriately. In this guide, you will learn how to choose sterling silver necklaces for women.

When choosing a necklace, one of the first things that you must consider is the amount of money that you have available for the purchase. The great thing about this type of metal is that it is relatively inexpensive. This type of jewelry does, in fact, display high quality and elegance, but it does not come with the same price tag as necklaces that are created from more precious types of metals. There are high end and low end pieces. It is important to determine what your budget is prior to shopping for the necklace that you are buying for that special person in your life. Once you make this determination, you will find that regardless of how much you have to spend, you will be able to find a piece of fine jewelry that your loved one will cherish.

The next step to choosing a necklace that is composed of sterling silver for that special someone in your life is to consider their neck size. The average length of a necklace is anywhere between twelve inches and fourteen inches. However, there are larger necklaces for larger women and larger options for those that prefer to have a loose hanging necklace. You could ask the person that you are buying for what their personal preference is, or you could observe the fine jewelry pieces that they currently have in order to determine what they like. You will discover that you have many different options when it comes to size, so be certain to take your time and choose a size that you feel best matches the desires of the recipient of the sterling silver necklace.

The next factor that must be considered when shopping for sterling silver necklaces for women is whether you want to purchase a plain necklace, a necklace that has special markings, or a necklace that includes a pendent. All three options are very popular among women that enjoy the luxury of wearing fine jewelry. The goal is to make the gift memorable so that the special person in your life will cherish it. It is advised to purchase something unique, yet not too loud. By making certain that your loved one receives a unique necklace, you are ensuring that they will absolutely love the gift that you provide. If you follow these steps, you will find that it is easy and exciting to choose among all the sterling silver necklaces for women on the market today. offers high quality, affordable sterling silver necklaces for women that is perfect for you, your friends, and loved ones.

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Silver Sterling | Silver Wedding Band

In many countries, a sterling silver object that is to be sold commercially must be stamped by an Assay office after testing for purity. This is required of other metal objects as well. In the United Kingdom, the Hallmarking Act of 1973 made it illegal to describe anything as made of platinum, gold or silver unless it had the appropriate Hallmark stamp. This was an historic reference because the first Assay office in the United Kingdom was Goldsmiths’ Hall, which was founded in the year 1300. This is where the term “Hallmarking” comes from. The objects were marked in Goldsmiths’ Hall.

There are a number of other established silver standards based on a variety of applications. Besides fine silver (99.9% pure) and sterling silver (92.5% pure), there is Mexican silver (95% pure). Mexico is the only remaining country using silver in its circulating coinage. However, they reserve the 95% pure standard for jewelry and art objects and use sterling silver for coins.

Coin silver in the United States is dictated by the Federal Trade Commission and is currently 90% silver and 10% copper. The original coin silver standard was established in the United States in the 1820s. However, the use and applications for coins is evolving now that electronic commerce is growing more popular.

History and culture have provided many other standards for silver. In the 12th century there were five German towns that called themselves the Easterling and formed what was know as the Hanseatic League. The league participated in commerce with England. They used their local currency in doing business and it happened to be 92.5% pure silver. The English were most impressed with the coins of the Easterling due to their quality and durability. Eventually, King Henry II of England brought silver refiners from the Easterling to England and by the year 1158, “Tealby Pennies” became standard sterling silver currency.

Beyond currency, the rise in popularity of sterling silver was perpetuated by flatware and jewelry. In the United States and Europe between about 1840 and 1940, proper society set stringent standards for table setting. This perpetuated a number of silver companies. Each company produced a wide variety of intricate patterns that were truly fine art and design. After World War II, labor costs and more convenient alternatives caused the decline of sterling flatware.

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