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Everything You Need to Know About Silver Jewelry

History of Silver

stlpd-r8293cSilver jewelry enjoys popularity that even gold and platinum shoot for. Perhaps it is because it is less expensive and easier to maintain, but maybe because it shines like the sun and is made in so many different designs. So if you are one who loves silver jewelry, you’re not alone.

As far back as 3000 BC, silver was being mined and fashioned into many objects, such as fine utensils, religious objects, currency, and silver jewelry. Many great empires were undergirded with silver, including the Greeks and Romans. Ultimately, silver was carried by traders into all the world, and all across the Orient and Europe silver mines appeared.

In 1492, Columbus discovered the New World and a whole world of silver in Mexico and South America. Massive amounts of silver were mined there, making the Americas one of the premiere locations for finding the shining metal. In 1794, the United States minted its first silver dollar. Thereafter, people in America fell in love with silver and the demand for silver jewelry grew.

Sterling Silver

qg-qtc115cGold and silver alike are too soft to form jewelry alone, so to increase its strength, additional metals are added, creating alloys. The silver alloy is called sterling silver. The highest quality silver used in making jewelry is called 925, which indicates that it comprises 92.5% silver and 7.5% other metals. Copper, zinc, and nickel are often used to alloy silver, although nickel is not used as frequently due to its allergenic properties.

How to Care for Your Silver Jewelry

When it comes in contact with oxygen, silver tarnishes. Of course, wearing your jewelry means that it will tarnish, although wearing it next to your skin does slow down the tarnishing process. But before you put it away, be sure to wipe it off with a polishing cloth. A polishing cloth is one that has been chemically treated to remove tarnish and restore its luster. If your jewelry is already tarnished, a thorough cleaning with a polishing cloth will remove the tarnish. To prevent tarnish during storage, purchase tarnish paper. You can either wrap the piece in the paper before storing or cut a small piece and put it in the box with your jewelry. Putting a piece of tarnish paper in a zip-lock bag with the silver and pressing all the air out will further help prevent tarnish. Keeping your silver tarnish-free is important, hgo-wb22wcbecause like rust, tarnish can permanently tarnish beyond just the surface layer, affecting the look and durability of the piece. Chemicals such as chlorine can also permanently alter the piece, so be sure to remove your jewelry before swimming. Lastly, treat your silver gently, because it can bend when pressure is applied.

Proper cleaning and storing of your silver jewelry will keep it looking good as new.



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