Different Kinds of Silver Jewellery
When we think of silver we usually think of Sterling Silver. There are a few more.
How well do you know your silver?
Fine silver is closest to pure silver. This silver is .999 silver, indicating 99.9% purity and 0.1% of trace elements and is dull in appearance compared to the brightness of polished sterling silver.
Fine silver is soft causing it to change its shape. It also scratches and dents easily, therefore, fine silver jewellery is not as common as sterling silver jewellery due to it lacking in durability.
Above all, fine silver is used in the manufacture of earrings and necklaces.
Sterling silver or .925 silver is the quality standard used in the most common types of jewellery in the majority of world markets.
Sterling silver is an alloy of 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper and sometimes nickel, metals which add durability, strength and brightness to the silver.
Although sterling silver is harder than fine silver it is still fairly soft and prone to tarnish.
The most common quality stamps are .925 and Stg. A quality stamp is only on products if there is enough surface area.
Argentium Silver and Non-Tarnish Alloys
Argentium silver and other non-tarnish alloys are fairly new to the market.
Argentium and other similar brands are alloys with a minimum of 92.5% silver. The remaining 7.5% consists of copper and germanium.
The germanium strengthens the alloy making it resistant to tarnish.
Argentium is more expensive and less readily available than sterling silver.
Coin silver is now quite a rare alloy.
This particular silver is .900 or 90% silver and 10% copper.
Coin silver was not used to make coins, the name was given to silver taken from refined scrapped coins.
The monetary coins of most countries today no longer contain silver hence the rarity of the alloy.
Coin silver jewellery still available bears a quality stamp of .900 and is usually of antique age and value.
Silver jewellery sold without a quality stamp is probably not very high in silver content and “silver” is probably only a description of the colour and not the quality.
Silver-filled is not an alloy because the metal content is not constant throughout the material.
The silver layer is thicker than silver plate but is a lower quality silver.
Silver-filled tarnishes and is a much lower quality product than other silver alloys.
Silver-Filled silver does not have a legally approved stamp.
Silver-plated jewellery is made by applying a thin layer of silver to a base metal.
The overall silver content is a very small fraction of the per cent.
Silverplate can tarnish and will eventually wear off, hence exposing the base metal underneath.
Silverplate is commonly used in costume jewellery, the silverplate doesn’t bear a stamp but instead often the manufacturer’s Hallmark or logo.
Nickel silver describes the colour and not the content.
The base alloy usually consists of copper or nickel and sometimes zinc.
An inexpensive base metal containing no silver at all. Often used in costume jewellery.