As one of the planet's first five metals to be found, silver has a long and illustrious history that dates back more than 6000 years.
Due to its lovely luster, robustness, and workability, silver naturally found its way into many jewelry collections. However, by fusing with other metals to create sterling silver, silver reinvented itself. Bring on centuries of intricate jewelry design that spans various nations, civilizations, and traditions.
What is sterling silver, though, and why is it so useful? What has led to the long-standing celebration of this alloy throughout culture and history? Let's investigate...
1. Sterling silver is an alloy
Because pure silver is too fragile to mold or set, sterling silver is a combination of two metals, but you might not be familiar with what these other metals are. Silver makes up 92.5 percent of sterling silver, with base metal making up the remaining 7.5 percent.
Nickel or copper are typically the base metals or alloys of choice for jewelers. This combination, when the alloy is produced with copper, enables the ideal balance of hardness, adaptability, and that renowned sheen.
In fact, nickel is sometimes used by silversmiths in place of copper. Nickel is well recognized for its propensity to react with the oils on our skin, leaving behind either a terrible skin reaction from a nickel allergy or a green ring mark. If you want all the information, we write about tarnishing in depth here.
2. Sterling silver is stronger than Pure silver
Why would somebody add another metal to silver, bringing down its value? you might wonder. You would understand why if you had ever seen something made entirely of silver that wasn't brand-new.
The metal silver is soft. It is prone to dents and scratches and doesn't maintain its shape effectively. It's lovely as show decor, but not for something that would be used frequently.
Sterling silver is more durable and tougher than pure silver because it contains copper or other metals. As a result, it is more useful for things like jewelry and cutlery.
3. The Silver can tarnish
Sterling silver is more tarnish-prone and more shape-stable when copper is added to it. When oxygen and other environmental factors come into contact with copper or other metals, a tarnish is left behind.
Sterling silver can suffer significant harm from tarnishing over time. You must regularly clean your sterling silver if you want your pieces to appear their finest.
A little polishing with a microfiber cloth that feels soft would go a long way. However, take care to avoid anything abrasive to prevent scratching the jewelry.
4. A nation's name was influenced by silver.
A fascinating truth that must be mentioned! "Argentum" is the Latin word for silver. Argentina, often known as "The Land of Silver," got its name from this Latin phrase because of the abundance of precious minerals that can be discovered there.
5. Ancient Egypt were silver fans
Back in the Old Kingdom era of ancient Egypt, silver was greatly regarded as having a higher worth and significance than gold. Compared to bulky gold jewelry, sterling silver jewelry was rarer and was worn on the skin more thinly.
6. Sterling silver can be recycled
Recycling in general, not to mention in the jewelry industry where more and more manufacturers are moving toward environmental sustainability, is a very popular topic right now.
Although you might not be aware of it, sterling silver is in fact recycled. It happens when jewelry made of sterling silver that has been worn out is extracted to yield precious silver. The original jewelry and the new jewelry are of the same high caliber because no purity is lost during the extraction process.
But what are the advantages of recycling jewelry for the environment? Check out our blog "An overview of recycled sterling silver" to get the answer!
7. Help your health with silver
Silver has been employed in medical contexts because of its antimicrobial characteristics, as you may already be aware. Silver compounds were used during World War I to assist slow the spread of illness. In order to prevent infections and kill bacteria, some people still purchase the colloidal version nowadays. For this reason, certain dressings also contain silver.
8. Cloud seeding uses silver
You'll be happy to know that silver plays a role in cloud seeding if meteorology is your thing. a crucial location, in fact. To make a cloud create a rain shower, it is utilized in the form of silver iodide, which is discharged into the cloud. This is being done in an effort to control hurricanes.
9. Silver is the shining metal king
According to unclaimed baggage, polished silver can reflect up to 95% of light shone on it. This makes it the metal with the highest levels of reflection. Because sterling silver benefits from some of that sheen as well, many owners want to maintain their pieces well polished.
10. Custom-made designs
Sterling silver is the most common precious metal alloy for people who had a customized and unique piece of jewelry designed for them because of its strength and durability. This alloy is a silversmith's delight since it is simple to shape, fashion, and design. Sterling silver is a very popular choice for those who wish to add long-lasting pieces to their jewelry collection because it is both affordable and of great quality.