Silver has long been heralded as being one of the most precious of metals in almost every culture across the globe, which explains why silver jewellery has always been so incredibly popular. While most jewellers produce beautiful, authentic silver pieces, there are still some less-than-reputable jewellers that have crafted cheap silver jewellery that isn’t actually made of silver at all. Below is some information on silver so that you know exactly what you’re getting when you purchase your silver jewellery:
What Is Silver?
Silver is a type of metal that has been used for centuries to create a number of different things, such as jewellery. Just as with gold, silver in its most pure state is far too soft to be used for practical day-to-day wear. To strengthen and increase the durability of this fine metal, other metals (most commonly copper) are then combined with the silver.
Different Types Of Silver
Sterling silver jewellery is also often referred to as “solid” silver, and is the most common type of silver used to create jewellery. Sterling silver jewellery is made of 92.5% pure silver, and 7.5% metal alloy. You can tell if you have an authentic sterling silver piece of fashion jewellery as the piece will be hallmarked with a “925”.
The most precious kind of silver that you’ll be able to find silver jewellery made out of, however, is “Britannia Silver”. This silver has a purity of 95.85% and is made of 4.16% copper or less. If you find jewellery made of this type of silver, you’ll see that it’ll be hallmarked with a “958”.
“Mexican Silver” is the least valuable type of silver that you may find on the market today, having only a 90% pure silver content.
Beware Of Fake Silver!
There are some disreputable jewellers out there who may try to sell you “silver” that isn’t really silver at all. Alpaca Silver, also known as German Silver, is a type of “silver” which isn’t even silver at all. Often referred to as “new silver”, “nickel silver” or “paktong”, it’s actually just a grey-coloured alloy which looks somewhat like real silver, but contains no silver whatsoever.
The next most common type of silver that you’ll find when shopping for silver jewellery is silver plated jewellery. Most cheap silver jewelry is made from silver plating, though some jewellers will attempt to pass their silver plated jewellery off as solid sterling silver. Don’t let yourself be fooled! These pieces are not true sterling silver jewellery pieces. These pieces have been made from another metal (typically nickel or brass) and only a very fine layer of silver has been plated or coated on top of that metal. These cheap fashion jewellery pieces are great for occasional wear, but buyer beware: the silver plating can quickly wear off, at which time the less-than-glamorous base metal is exposed.
These pieces have been made from another metal (typically nickel or brass) and only a very fine layer of silver has been plated or coated on top of that metal. These cheap fashion jewellery pieces are great for occasional wear, but buyer beware: the silver plating can quickly wear off, at which time the less-than-glamorous base metal is exposed.