Gold gets a lot of attention – in the world of jewelry and beyond. But not all that glitters must be gold! Not everybody shares the passion, borderline obsession, for gold that underscores so much of the world of fine jewelry. Some prefer the subtle twinkle and shine of silver. And that preference is not misplaced. Silver has a highly valued place in jewelry and beyond, and at Keezing Kreations, if silver is your preferred metal, we can create something beautiful and valuable that you will love as much as any magpie loves gold!
Even though silver is considered more affordable and accessible than gold, this in no way diminishes its value, importance, beauty or significance as a style statement. Silver symbolizes purity and clarity. It is also a relatively strong metal, much more so than gold, and thus symbolizes strength. Add to all this an elegant gleam and stylish understated beauty, and you have the perfect metal to showcase any number of styles, stones and sentimental statements.
A Short History of Silver
Silver has a long, illustrious history as a metal prized by nearly all cultures with access to it’s glorious gleam since ancient times. The first evidence of silver mining dates back to 3000 BC, in Turkey and Greece. Evidence of it being used as jewelry also dates back thousands of years: in February 2014, archaeologists uncovered a treasure trove of silver, including five hoop earrings, at a 3200-year-old site in Israel. The use of sterling silver in personal adornment as jewelry, and as currency, really took off in the 12th century however: silver coins from this era were referred to as “Easterlings”. Eventually, the name was shortened to “Sterling” which is now used to denote the highest grade of silver. Fast forward to the 18th century, and we see silver being crafted into everything from jewelry such as brooches, to shoe buckles, home decor items and objects d’art. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Today, silver’s uses far outweigh and outnumber those of any other precious metal. But it is as jewelry that it really shines, showcasing all that makes this metal so magical.
Silver as Jewelry
Pure silver is actually relatively soft and malleable, and easily damaged, meaning that in its purest form it’s not that well suited to jewelry creation. Not to be denied the use of this sparkly stunner, though, jewelers learned that, when combined with other metals, silver could be made more durable. Enter sterling silver: the most common alloy mix found in jewelry.
To qualify as sterling silver, the item must be at least 92.5% pure silver, with the other 7.5% being any other metal. Typically, however, this alloy is copper. Centuries of experimentation have proven copper to be silver’s best friend, with this mix not affecting the beautiful color and sheen of silver. To further help with resistance to scratching, wear and tear, jewelry made with sterling silver is also often plated with rhodium to give it a bright white finish (similar to white gold).
From necklaces to bracelets and bangles, to earrings in the form of studs, hoops, dangly delights, and everything in between, jewelry crafted in sterling silver has an exceptional color and sheen, is lightweight, hypoallergenic, and very comfortable to wear. Sterling silver is also much more affordable than its precious metal counterparts, such as gold and platinum, making it a great option for jewelry lovers of every budget.
Choosing Your Silver: Hallmarks
Genuine sterling silver ordinarily has a hallmark stamped into the metal somewhere that identifies it as such. There are several versions of the sterling silver hallmark; you may see .925 stamped on the silver. Alternately look for the words Ster, Sterling, STG or Sterling Silver.
Silver also sometimes comes in the following forms:
At 99.9% silver, fine silver is the closest you can find to pure silver. Identified by the hallmark .999, the other .1% is made up of trace elements. Note: while this may sound like the type of silver you’d prize the most, in this case purity is not the prize. In reality fine silver is much too soft to be used in jewelry. It is easily damaged and malleable, and loses shape over time.
Essentially a thin layer of silver coated over another base metal, most commonly copper, silver plate has much less silver than fine silver and sterling silver. Silver plate is, understandably, not as valuable, and over time the plating can discolor and even flake off.
In short, when choosing silver jewelry look for the hallmarks of sterling silver and you can’t go wrong!
Caring for Your Silver Jewelry
Looked after properly, fine-quality sterling silver jewelry can last a lifetime. Top silver care tips include:
- Store your sterling silver treasures in a soft cloth bag or separate softly lined box to minimize scratches and other damage.
- Remove your sterling silver jewelry when cleaning, swimming etc. to avoid exposing it to chemicals like bleach, ammonia or chlorine, all of which can cause damage.
- Prevent silver tarnish buildup, a dulling that naturally occurs when silver reacts with sulfur or hydrogen sulfide in the ambient air, by cleaning silver jewelry with a soft cloth and a silver polish formulated specifically to remove tarnish. Note: tarnish is most easily removed if you tackle it as soon as it appears, but the best way to avoid tarnish? Regular wear!
- If surface scratches or damage occurs, don’t worry! Sterling silver can easily be polished back to silvery shine without damage, and it can also be replated with rhodium to restore its moon glow.
Are you looking to up your gold jewelry game, or gearing up to propose with a stunning gold ring? Contact Keezing Kreations today to talk about our silver jewelry design services. We are passionate about creating silver jewelry that is every bit as stunning as gold, of the very best quality, and designed to deliver sparkle and joy.