From The Bench

The Value of Sterling Silver and Sterling Silver Jewelry

Silver has maintained a steady demand in the market as the most affordable member of the precious white metals group. Silver jewelry, including sterling silver jewelry, accounts for about one-fifth of the total demand for metal worldwide.

According to analysts, silver has always had high demand, and being a less expensive metal; it witnessed a significant increase in countries like Australia in 2021 as a result of many manufacturers shifting to on-shore production to help offset the global shipping challenges that have plagued the world since the outbreak of COVID-19.

From a jewelry standpoint, customers in Western markets are less affected by price variations in silver, especially when placed beside more expensive metals like gold.

Silver jewelry’s price points function well in an online environment, and therefore, the change to e-commerce is seen as favorable by manufacturers in the post-COVID world. In addition, recent financial reports revealed by Pandora, the world’s largest jewelry producer by volume, have already indicated robust customer demand for silver jewelry.

Pandora’s signature metal is 925 sterling silver, which the company uses generously over the year. It’s been reported that Pandora used about 340 tons of it across all of its product lines.

Pandora recently raised its year-end projection, citing positive financial performance and a strong recovery in the United States, also the world’s largest market for sterling silver jewelry. Compared to 2020, the Western market’s silver and other metals jewelry sector has shown double-digit gains in sales dollars monthly, starting January.

Silver’s Amazing History

Pure silver is delicate and flexible, and it is readily broken, making it unsuitable for jewelry. Silver is mixed with other alloys to make it more robust against deformation or disintegration. The most frequent alloy combination seen in jewelry is sterling silver. It must be made up of at least 92.5% pure silver, with the remaining 7.5 percent made up of other metals like copper.

The chosen alloy is usually copper. This is because copper is silver’s ideal companion over centuries of experimentation without compromising its gorgeous color. As a result, adding a modest amount of copper to sterling has a negligible impact on silver’s value.

Instead, the cost of sterling silver is determined by the amount of time it takes to make the piece, the expertise of the metalsmith or crafter, and the complexity of the overall design. Sterling silver jewelry is frequently coated with rhodium to give the metal a dazzling white gloss that also happens to be scratch-resistant.

Silver is considered a precious metal, along with gold and platinum. Silver has long been employed in creating ornaments, jewelry, coins, ornaments due to its relative rarity, dazzling white color, ductility, malleability, and ability to resist oxidation naturally.

Silver is also widely utilized in the fabrication of modern electrical circuits. For example, it can be used as a vapor-deposited coating for conductors. Some manufacturers also alloy it palladium or nickel for electrical use.

Archeologists have discovered royal graves reaching back to 4000 BCE that have been adorned with silver ornaments. By 800 BCE, both silver and gold were most likely used as money in different countries between the River Nile and Indus.

Silver has traditionally been used for the storage of value in the form of silver bullion.

However, by the 1960s, the demand for silver in industrial applications had far outstripped global production. Digital cameras overtook film cameras in the early twenty-first century, but demand for silver from other industries remained strong, including plated and sterling silverware, decorations, coinage, photovoltaic cells, etc.

What Types of Silver Are Used in Jewelry?

Most people are familiar with sterling silver, and some are aware that it differs from pure silver. However, there are a variety of silver alloys utilized in the jewelry industry. Some products contain the word “silver” in their name but no silver in their composition!

Silver in its purest form is delicate, and can rarely be used in jewelry as they are easily broken or distorted. As a result, other metals are alloyed with it to make it more rigid and more robust. Also, because silver’s hue is highly appreciated, you’ll occasionally encounter combinations that appear like silver but are formed of different metals.

Silver Jewelry

Many pieces of jewelry are labeled as “silver,” but there is no measure of the presence of silver or the sort of alloy used.

Ideally, silver should be appropriately identified with certified stamps, as well as the purity level, so you know what type of alloy you’re looking at.

In general, jewelry labeled “silver” is usually only cheap silver plating that eventually fades. Always seek for the stamp or inquire about the alloy’s actual composition with the retailer. This is something they should be able to tell you.

Fine Silver

Fine silver, often known as pure silver, is the purest of the metal available for jewelry. It’s made up of 99.9% silver and.1% additional elements.

Fine silver is shiny and white, and it may be fashioned into delicate, lovely jewelry. However, it is readily scratched, changes shape, and also loses shape, eventually. As a result, fine silver isn’t highly suggested, save for low-impact places like pendants and earrings.

Fine silver has a hallmark 999FS or .999. Fine silver is also hypoallergenic since silver does not induce allergy reactions on its own.

Sterling Silver

The most well-known silver alloy is sterling silver, which has been used for at least a millennia. In most regions, sterling silver is the standard silver alloy. Sterling silver is made up of 92.5% pure silver, with the remaining 7.5% copper. The copper alloy makes sterling silver more durable and ideal for jewelry making.  

Although sterling silver is bright and reflective, it is prone to tarnishing. As sterling silver oxidizes, it will change color and darken due to its copper content. However, this tarnish is usually easy to remove, and in certain circumstances, jewelers even employ it to enhance designs and patterns in items like silver charms and pendants.

The most common marks for sterling silver are STER, STERLING, STG, 925 STG, and .925

Although sterling silver is usually hypoallergenic, it can contain trace nickel or other metals, which might trigger allergic responses in some people. Xinar’s sterling silver pendants are free of these other metals.

Rhodium plating is used to improve the whiteness, durability, and brilliance of high-quality sterling silver jewelry. They increase the piece’s value while also preventing tarnishing.

Argentium Silver

This is a brand of contemporary silver alloys that are more tarnish-resistant and durable than sterling silver. It’s sterling silver brought to the twenty-first century.

Argentium silver has a higher purity than sterling silver and comes in two grades: 96% and 93.2%. Argentium silver is alloyed with germanium and copper. The alloys make it more challenging and more resistant to tarnish. Argentium silver is also easier to maintain and clean.

The Argentium stamp, which portrays a flying unicorn, can only be used by authorized dealers, as it is a brand. Although Argentium silver is hypoallergenic and free of nickel, it is also more expensive.

Please contact us if you have any questions or comments. Thanks for reading!

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