As a metal with major importance, silver has been a very useful element in the life of human kind. Since its discovery thousands of years ago, the versatile use of silver has been observed among all the old civilizations. From ornaments to weapons, from pots to jewelry, life without silver cannot be imagined. Egyptians and Phoenician citizens are thought to be the first civilizations to make jewelry for the purpose of adorning the men and women. With the passing time jewelry has been used in many other extended uses like dentistry, coins, decoration pieces, etc.
Many parts of the world produce silver but the best quality this metal production is known to be in Peru and Mexico. There are many reasons behind the longstanding popularity of silver like beauty, elegance, affordability and adaptability. Among different types of silver, sterling is more in demand as the charms, chains, rings and other pieces of jewelry manufactured with it look highly classy and resemble to platinum and white gold.
Silver of Common Sort
Silver is made with many different properties. The sorts of this metal that are used to further develop in the form of sterling silver are as follows:
Fine Silver: The most natural state of silver is called fine silver. Naturally this type is quite soft and not suitable for the production of durable ornaments. It is mixed with a little amount of other metal alloys to make it strong and suitable for producing jewelry or household wares.
The silver mixed with other metal alloys is called sterling silver. Its purity level is up to 92.5%. The amount of copper in it is about 7.5%. Inside a jewelry piece you can see “925” stamped showing its purity level. The right combination of copper and silver makes the resulting silver sterling strong, durable, shiny and elegant to meet the standard of quality and resemble precious metals like white gold etc. The presence of copper causes the sterling silver ornaments to tarnish after a period of time. But with proper care the possibility of tarnishing can be minimized to a great extent. Time to time simple cleaning of the jewelry keeps it always sparkling like new.
Plating means to cover another metal like nickel with pure silver. This is also a good and strong form of silver which is very cheap compared to sterling silver because only the plating is of pure silver. Plating on most of the base metals is repeated after every some years to keep it shiny and saving the base metal from becoming bare.
A combination of copper, nickel and zinc looks exactly like silver. As it is cheap and widely known, it is used to make imitate expensive jewelry.
This type of silver was famous in 18th century. It was plated with gold to provision an expensive and polished look of jewelry.
This brief history of silver tells about the different uses, phases and types of silver. The wide use of silver in making precious accessories of kings and rulers owes to the versatility of this metal which is graceful but highly affordable.