The world's love affair with silver and sterling silver jewelry.
We have been attracted to and fascinated by silver for thousands of
years. The earliest civilizations discovered abundant silver metal deposits near the earth's
surface, and so our love affair with silver began. Beautiful and
captivating relics of these civilizations include their handmade silver
gemstone jewelry and religious jewelry, not to mention food containers created
from the sturdy, malleable silver metal. Silver was well-known by mankind since
before history was recorded, and its discovery is estimated to have occurred
shortly after that of copper and gold. Probably the oldest reference to silver
appears in the book of Genesis thousands of years ago. Of course its well known
that silver was used to make fine jewelry since those ancient times. Later,
exploration of the western hemisphere uncovered sterling silver jewelry finds.
Some mineral finds in old mines of the Near-East and on islands of the Aegean
sea seem to reveal that by 5000 B.C. a method which separated silver from lead
was already recognized. Gold and silver were extracted from their ores and bonded
to lead and then the precious metals of silver and gold were obtained following
the oxidation of this mixture. Beginning in 1792, silver assumed a key role in
the monetary system of the United States when the US Congress based the
currency on the silver dollar along with its fixed relationship to gold.
Sterling silver was used for the nation's coinage until its use was
discontinued in 1965.
Exactly what is Sterling Silver?
In its purest form, sterling silver is a soft metal. Silver by itself is too soft
to be used for sterling silver jewelry. In fact, in what is
known in metallurgy as an alloy, silver is mixed with other metals which normally includes Copper to make it harder and malleable. It can then be made into sterling silver jewelry such as
sterling silver rings, sterling silver pendants, sterling silver crosses,
sterling silver chain and sterling silver bracelets as well.
Why are my sterling silver jewelry pieces stamped with the numbers .925 and
what does it mean?
This is accepted internationally as the universal stamp which signifies that
that particular sterling silver jewelry piece such as a sterling silver ring,
is actually sterling silver. More to the point, the .925 stamp says that the
item has the proper proportion of silver and tin needed to be sterling silver.
Without the minimum silver content stipulated by international authorities an
item, for example a silver ring or silver earrings, should not be labeled as
.925 sterling silver, or sterling jewelry or sterling silver jewelry or
sterling. In order to be sterling silver, there must be a minimum stated as 925
parts per thousand of pure silver. When you see the figure 925 or 92.5 used to
label or mark a sterling silver jewelry ring, Copper (Cu) is the most common
used alloy to mix with silver and this Copper makes up the remaining 7.5
percent of the sterling silver. Copper metal adds the necessary hardness to
pure silver so that it can be shaped. But unfortunately its this same Copper
that tends to tarnish the sterling silver jewelry over time. When your silver
tarnishes, it is because of the presence of Copper the hardening alloy in your
"pure" silver. We attempt to offer most of our sterling silver jewelry with a
Rhodium metal finish. This finish inhibits the oxidation or tarnishing process
and helps to keep your designer inspired sterling silver ring, sterling silver
earrings and sterling silver bracelets looking as shiny as ever and great