Silver In Its Many Forms
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STERLING SILVER is 92.5% pure silver and will generally be stamped with 925 as a sign that it is sterling silver. Sterling silver may also bear the makers mark and be stamped with the country of origin, for instance ITALY. The remaining 7.5% of metal in sterling silver is generally made up of copper to give the silver its strength because silver in its pure form is soft.
When buying any sterling silver it is a good idea to check that it doesn't contain any nickel as it can cause irritations to anyone with sensitive skin, just because something is sterling silver does not necessarily mean your skin will not react to it.
Silver will almost definitely tarnish how quickly depends on the enviroment the silver is in, for instance salt can cause silver to tarnish quickly so swimming in the surf or being present in salty air can speed up the tarnishing process as well as the the acids and fats released from your skin through perspiration. There are many ways to clean silver including toothpaste, baking soda and a good srcubbing with a fine cloth. The easiest and one of the best options is a silver cloth with anti-tarnish chemicals in it, so when you clean your silver it will also stay clean for longer.
If you want to go all out you can also have your silver rhodium plated which will stop tarnishing for as long the plating remains. It also combats irritations some people may get from silver very effectively.
All the sterling silver items I sell are completely nickel free and are great for those people with sensitive skin.
FINE SILVER is 99.9% pure silver and is normally only found in jewellery in the form of a plating - for instance I sell sterling silver jewellery and findings which have a fine silver plating. Fine silver is used because it has a great lustrous shine and really brightens up the sterling silver as well as fixing any scratches or marks left from the construction process.
SILVER PLATING refers to a pure silver coating and unless the coating is pure silver then it shouldn't be called silver plated instead it is just silver coloured - even though this isn't always the case. The base metals used under a silver plating will vary greatly in quality with the better options being brass, copper, bronze and sterling silver. Metals such as iron are cheaper metals which are of a lower quality, it is also a good idea to check if the items you are buying are nickel free to help prevent potential allergic reactions.
TIBETAN & BALI SILVER and many cases are not sterling silver even though it may be referred to as Bali sterling silver or Tibetan sterling silver it may contain as little as 20% silver and in some cases even less. The other major problem presented with such products is the other metals contained, often the other metals used are a mix of different cheaper metals which can cause a variety of reactions to those with sensitive or allergy prone skin. There are three simple questions that can be asked of the seller if in doubt, they are:
1. What is the silver purity, for instance sterling silver is 92.5% pure silver?
2. Are there allergen causing metals in the silver, for instance nikel?
3. What metals have been used in making the silver?
The first two questions are the most important the third question you may not get a answer to and will probably only be answered acurately if the answer to question 2 is NO but if you do get an answer it is a good sign that the seller knows what they are talking about or in other words has their finger on the pulse. Then using the answers to the questions you can judge the whether the product is infact what you want.
Another thing to look out for is Tibetan / Bali style silver which is even worse in that it is a cheap copy of the Tibetan or Bali silver and in 99.9% of cases are made of just some sort of metal and do not in fact contain any silver at all. These sort of beads usually come out of China, India and other countries of this nature.
GOLD VERMEIL is when a gold plating (usually 1 micron) is layed over a sterling silver base. But please be sure to check that this is the case when buying gold vermeil as it can as be made with cheaper base metals such as bronze, brass, copper or other cheaper metals.
All the gold vermeil items I sell are completely nickel free and are great for those people with sensitive skin.
RHODIUM is the most expensive precious metal and is part of the platinum family. It is a rare silvery-white transition metal which is very hard in nature making it perfect for plating metals like silver and gold because it lasts longer than other platings. It is unaffected by acids and corrosion meaning it stops tarnishing and because it is part of the platnium family it is perfect for people with sensitive skin. When applied to silver it gives it a deeper white gold or platnium look adding that touch of class.
If you have any questions please feel free to contact me.