Silver is a metallic chemical element with the chemical symbol Ag and atomic number 47. It is a soft, white, lustrous transition metal, it has the highest electrical conductivity of any element and the highest thermal conductivity of any other known metal. The metal occurs naturally in its pure, free form as an alloy with gold and other metals, and in minerals such as argentite and chlorargyrite.
Silver has long been valued as a precious metal, and it is used to make ornaments, jewelry, high-value tableware, utensils and of course currency coins. These days, silver metal is also used in electrical contacts and conductors, in mirrors and in catalysis of chemical reactions. It is used to make jewelry, and that is what I want to concentrate on.
There is something about silver jewelry which makes just about everybody yearn to accumulate it. These days, even men are collecting their own sets of sterling silver jewelry. There are some who own rings, earrings and other common types of jewelry. For women it is nothing new, they have always traditionally had a love affair with jewelry – in fact, all types of jewelry, from gold jewelry, to silver jewelry, to all manner of gemstone jewelry.
You can find machine made Silver Jewelry, or more unique pieces of Handmade Silver Jewelry that oftentimes combine silver with other materials such as string, leather, and so on for example in a charm bracelet.
This may come as a big surprise to most of you, but there is a huge difference between pure silver jewelry and sterling silver jewelry. Actually, there is hardly any pure silver jewelry on the market.
Well, that's because pure silver is a tad too impractical to use as a form of jewelry. Pure silver, that is 99% fine silver, is usually too malleable and soft to be off any long-lasting use. Just think of how pliable aluminum foil can be; no matter how many folds of foil you might have stacked on top of each other, it still remains adaptable to a person’s hands. Now, we are not saying that pure silver jewelry is aluminum-foil-thin. Actually, it is probably far from being that thin. However, what we are saying is that that pure silver cannot retain its shape and dimension without mixing alloys with it – a property that is similar to aluminum foil. With that in mind, you probably wouldn’t want pure silver jewelry in the first place.
Now, this is where sterling silver jewelry comes in. The term sterling really refers to the alloys mixed with the silver. Some of the conventional alloys used are copper (which is the most widely used alloy today), platinum, boron, silicon, germanium and zinc. Sterling silver jewelry is then usually defined as jewelry which should contain at least that 92.5% fine silver and 7.5% alloys. With sterling silver jewelry, you can really enjoy the beauty of silver, while being able to enjoy durability as well.
Now a-days, with the more advanced technology which is available to us, sterling silver jewelry is often engineered. With the power to do this, we are now able to enjoy a look for our jewelry which is more appealing and vibrant to any person. Some sterling silver jewelry is mixed with alloys which help them to maintain a tarnish-free look.