Gold has been over rated as a medium for ornaments for way too long. It has probably been coveted more as a status symbol, rather than aesthetics alone. Women with more earthy, natural and individual tastes have , however, found silver to be a preferred medium to express their style.
Sterling silver is highly malleable and easy to carve and engrave. So it has been put to varied uses down the centuries; people in ancient Byzantine, Egypt and the Indian sub continent have used it for utensils, armour, royal effects and of course, fine jewelry. It has been believed to have medicinal values too.
Today, Mexico and Peru are the highest producing sterling silver mines in the world. The only problem with Sterling silver jewelry is its tendency to scratch and tarnish over time. Proper care is required to keep it looking beautiful and shiny. Fine silver, in its natural state, is 999/1000 pure. This makes it too soft for molding into products that will retain their shape.. In order for silver to be hard enough to be suitable for arts and crafts, alloying it with other metallic components is required.
Universally, a purity of 92.5 percent is accepted as the purest form of silver fit to be used for jewelry and other products. Silver of this purity is known as sterling silver. Sterling silver is a mixture of 92.5% pure fine silver and other metal alloys. But silver is used in many variations.
Vermeil jewelry is sterling silver jewelry electroplated with at least 100 millionths of an inch of carat gold, giving it a gold-look-alike appearance.
Silver plating is when a base metal is covered with a layer of pure silver.
German silver is a silvery-white alloy consisting of copper, zinc and nickel, and has not the remotest relation to silver except the name and appearance.
If you are one of the women who love the calming, moonlight sheen of this ancient metal, you need to know how to keep it from tarnishing and going black.
Silver jewelry or objects which are regularly used seldom tarnish, but
storage for a prolonged time causes silver jewelry to tarnish.
Tarnish is a product of oxidation, caused by the interaction of silver jewelry with certain elements such as oxygen or sulfur as well as with certain acids.
Contact with rubber may cause silver to tarnish due to the sulphur content in rubber..
Taking a medication that changes the acidity of your skin may cause silver jewelry to tarnish.
Be sure to store your sterling silver jewelry in a cool, dry place individually in pouches to keep it from environmental harm.
But don’t sweat it if your item becomes tarnished, chances are it’ll happen no matter how careful you are. Just use a polish solution or a polishing cloth to clean the piece.
You may clean your silver in a mild dish washing liquid diluted in water.