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Jul 13, 2018 1:20 am

Do you own silver jewelry? What about silverware, such as cutlery or tableware? Or even the occasional candlestick holder – Beauty and the Beast comes to mind! Now, can you say with certainty whether those items are silver or sterling silver?

What’s The Difference, Anyway?

‘Sterling silver’ isn’t just a fancy name slapped on to make silver sound more classy. It actually does refer to a difference in composition of the silver item itself. Sterling silver is made up of 92.5% silver, and 7.5% another kind of metal, which is usually copper. This alloy actually strengthens the jewelry or other item being made, increasing its durability and reducing the risk of damage or of it going out of shape.

Isn’t Pure Silver Better?

Fine silver, such as an item made of 99.9% pure silver, is relatively soft. If it is often handled, worn, washed and the like, the silver could actually erode. Hence, silver items meant for personal use are usually alloyed with another metal to avoid heartache. Imagine your silver ring going out of shape and dropping the diamond or gemstone it was holding! That’s a tragedy that should be avoided at all costs! Hence, mixing the silver with some copper, iron, steel and so forth, will not only save your precious stones, but it also costs a little less compared to pure silver.

So Sterling Silver Is The Best!

Actually, sterling silver does have its drawbacks – it tarnishes easily. Compared to pure silver, which doesn’t tarnish (but may sometimes get black residue when in contact with sulfur), alloyed silver does tarnish due to sensitivity to air and water. If the silver oxidizes, it turns darker in colour, and often looks aged – which could have a fashionable effect. Nevertheless, tarnish can be cleaned with proper care and maintenance.

How Do I Maintain Sterling Silver?

The best way to care for sterling silver is to wipe it with a cloth regularly. A microfiber cloth, such as the one you use on your shades or glasses, would be perfect. Also, do not wear any sterling silver jewelry while showering or swimming, as water can damage sterling silver items.

You could also try to purchase sterling silver items which are alloyed with metals which can reduce tarnishings, such as germanium, zinc, platinum, silicon, and boron. You’d have to be sure to check with a qualified jeweler who would be able to know these things with a reliable level of accuracy.

And What About The Pound Sterling?

If you notice, the British currency is named after sterling silver. That is because the British pound sterling was originally valued by its weight of sterling silver. The pound sterling is the world’s oldest currency still in use and which has been continuous since inception, in the year 1158. That’s almost a millennium ago!

If you have silver jewelry, silverware, tableware, candelabra or any other items made of silver and you’ve no place for them any longer in your home, fret not. It’s easy to sell your silver pieces and fetch a good price for them. Simply get a valuation from us at Global Gold and Silver to know what your silver is worth, and we can discuss from there. You can also check out other gold and silver jewelry we have bought. It’s so easy!


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