What is Sterling Silver

 Sterling Silver wire is a special metal that allows designers to construct beautiful pieces of jewelry. Silver has  properties that enable easy polish. The main reason being is because of the fact that silver has the highest degree of optical reflectivity  of all the metals reflecting 95% of all visible light. Giving this fact, silver jewelry is fun to polish up older pieces to make look new again.

A interesting characteristic of silver is that it is also very malleable and soft. Due to this high malleability, designers are able to craft and mold the silver into an infinite number of forms letting them create bold, beautiful, and artistic of jewelry pieces .

So what does this exactly mean?  Sterling silver refers to an alloy (a combination of metals). Sterling silver is a combination of 92.5% silver and usually 7.5% copper zinc or nickel . Consumer can readily know that a certain piece of jewelry is Sterling, by the marking of ” 925″. In the USA we must mark our sterling with the mark of ” 925″.   So why combine the two metals to make Sterling Silver? This additional percentage of metal gives Sterling Silver the durability required for jewelry. Without compromising its beautiful white luster.Why not just use 100% pure silver? The answer lies in the paragraph above. We cannot use pure silver, simply because pure silver is just too malleable. It will not maintain its shape, thus we need to combine the silver with a harder metal to make it into sterling silver.

So why does sterling silver turn brown/black sometimes? This is called tarnishing which is oxidation. It is one of the important properties of Sterling Silver. Over time through oxidation (contact with air) and exposure to other materials (sulfur is a main culprit), Sterling Silver will tarnish.(DARKEN).  Some refer to tarnish as “patina” and many people even love the lustrous color of patina. However, there are ways to remove tarnish or patina. A cloth made to clean Sterling Silver will usually have chemicals gentle enough to remove patina. Harsh dips and creams are never recommended because they are too abrasive and can scratch and damage your jewelry. NEVER EVER use toothpaste!

Sterling Silver has been used in jewelry making for thousands of years. Known for its affordability, ease of use, and trend-setting styles, silver has become widely used in today’s marketplace.

Now that you have learned more about this beautiful metal, go ahead and treat yourself to a wonderful piece of sterling silver jewelry!