Sterling Silver Earrings

Sterling silver is one of the whitest and brightest metals available and therefore an obvious choice for stunning jewellery pieces. Sterling silver earrings are a beautiful, high quality addition to any jewellery box that can survive through generations. 

But what exactly is sterling silver and how is it different to pure silver? The benefits, history and applications of sterling silver have been explored so you know exactly where your sterling silver jewellery has come from.

 

  1. What is Sterling Silver?

  2. History of Sterling Silver

  3. How Sterling Silver is Made

  4. Sterling Silver Earrings

  5. Looking After Sterling Silver

  6. Cost of Sterling

  7. How to Recognise Sterling Silver

 

What is Sterling Silver?

Silver has been used to make jewellery for thousands of years, with evidence dating back to ancient times.  Its luxurious quality and beautiful appearance have sustained silver’s popularity throughout time until the present day. 

The shine and colour of silver jewellery are characteristic of the pure element. However, silver is too soft to be made into jewellery by itself. It can be difficult to mould, and the result won’t be as durable as it will be easily damaged.

The majority of silver jewellery is mixed with other metals to make it harder and stronger. When silver is mixed with zinc, the resultant metal is even brighter than either of the metals alone. The alloy created has the perfect combination of beauty and durability, allowing silver jewellery pieces to last much longer.

Sterling silver is one such alloy and consists of 92.5% pure silver with 7.5% of additional metal that is typically copper or zinc. Almost all upmarket and high-quality silver jewellery is actually sterling silver. As it mostly pure silver with just a little of added metal, the jewellery retains all the desired features of silver.

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History of Sterling Silver

Evidence of silver discovery dates back to 4000BC. However, sterling silver is much more recent. It originated in the 12th century in northern Germany, and by the end of the century, sterling silver became popular across Europe.

There are a number of theories on how sterling silver got its name. One theory suggests that sterling comes from the old English word for ‘like a little star.’

 

How Sterling Silver is Made

Silver is found in ores which is a natural rock containing a valuable mineral or metal. Before it can be made into sterling silver, it is mined and treated so that the pure silver can be extracted from the ore.

Once extracted the pure silver is melted and mixed in the correct ratios with either pure zinc or pure copper which is also in liquid form. The mixture can then be moulded into the desired shape and left to harden.

To make sterling silver jewellery, the molten sterling silver can be made into sterling silver clay or sterling silver strips or sterling silver sheets and then shaped as required or soldered to produce the finished product.

 

Sterling Silver Earrings

The classic shine of silver and connection with luxury means that sterling silver accessories often have a timeless, elegant look. Since silver and sterling silver have been in use for many years, silver jewellery is unlikely to go out of style.

Sterling silver earrings can be a solid investment as they will remain in style and appropriate throughout their lifetime. Whether you invest in sterling silver hoops, sterling silver studs or even statement pieces, they are guaranteed to not be a fad.

Sterling silver earrings are universal. The shimmering silver suits everybody of any age, skin tone or style. Additionally, they can improve the look of almost any outfit. From weddings to dinner dates to going to the cinema, sterling silver earrings make a beautiful addition.

The versatility of sterling silver comes partly from the gorgeous appearance of the precious metal. Another aspect is that because silver and sterling silver is easy to mould, jewellers are able to make a huge variety of designs and styles.

The hypoallergenic properties of sterling silver make them a great choice for earrings and jewellery as they are highly unlikely to irritate even sensitive skin.

There are a few metals that are common sources of allergies or skin irritation. These are often base metals such as nickel and brass. Luckily, sterling silver rarely, if ever, contains these types of metals.

Additionally, silver is well known as an antimicrobial as it is able to kill harmful bacteria. Sterling silver retains this valuable feature which means that sterling silver earring sets are less likely to cause infection in piercings.

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Looking After Sterling Silver

Silver is a durable metal and jewellery made from sterling silver has the potential to last for generations. This makes a valuable investment that can be worn throughout a lifetime and passed on as an heirloom.

Sterling silver is water resistant, withstanding of exposure and difficult to scratch making it a great choice for everyday wear. Not only does silver physically last a long time, it also retains its beautiful appearance and shine. It doesn’t tarnish or damage easily, even with lots of wear.

However, all jewellery requires some amount of love and care. Although silver is durable, it is not indestructible and knowing how to best look after your sterling silver jewellery will help keep it looking fresh for years.

Keep sterling silver jewellery away from household chemicals or chlorinated water. Although the silver won’t be irreversibly damaged, it will tarnish quicker when exposed to these chemicals. 

Wearing silver jewellery is actually much better for the upkeep of its appearance than keeping it in a jewellery box or drawer. The oils of the skin keep the metal clean and shiny and slows the process of tarnish.

Not all jewellery can be worn at all times and it is possible that sterling silver jewellery that is not worn often can begin to tarnish and look dull. When this happens, there are a number of easy ways to restore its shine.

The sterling silver jewellery can be scrubbed with a small cloth and warm water with some mild detergent to remove dirt and regain its bright appearance. Otherwise, rubbing the jewellery with a basic varnish will do the trick.

If stains are a little more resilient, using a scrub with a paste made of baking soda and water will soon remove them.

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Cost of Sterling Silver

Pure silver is a luxurious, beautiful metal that is in demand across the globe. The price of legitimate, 925 stamped silver fluctuations based on global stocks but in general can be considered a very expensive commodity.

Due to the high silver content of sterling silver it is still considered a precious metal, even though there is a small amount of non-precious metal. It maintains the gorgeous appearance and attractive qualities of pure silver while providing a lifetime value.

Despite this, sterling silver is considerably less expensive than pure silver and other precious metals. Therefore, sterling silver is the obvious choice for high-quality, durable jewellery at a slightly more affordable price.

Additionally, sterling silver jewellery maintains a lot of its value over time and with wear and can be resold for a good price at any time.

 

How to Recognise Sterling Silver

When buying silver jewellery from high end jewellers, you can be pretty confident that your new valuables will be made from genuine silver. However, silver can be found everywhere and isn’t only sold in luxury boutiques.

So, how can you tell that items found in markets, small stores or vintage shops are the real deal? Luckily, silver has a very specific brand of legitimacy.

All silver, including sterling silver is marked with a 925 stamp. If the legitimacy of a silver item is in question, look for a small 925 or .925 stamp somewhere on the item.

The stamp is typically done somewhere innocuous so as not to ruin the look of the silver piece and often found on clasps and hooks or on the inside of rings.

Additionally, you may want to take a magnet when shopping for silver. Silver, and sterling silver are non-magnetic and will not stick to the magnet. If it does, it is possible that the ‘silver’ is actually iron, nickel or steel.

 

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