Friday, February 12, 2010
A Nickels Worth of Silver Info
Silver is a precious metal, as is gold and platinum. I use mostly sterling silver, which is an alloy of silver. Silver (.999 or pure) is a bit too soft to hold up to a lot of wear, though I do use it sometimes in the bezels that surround my stones. Sterling silver is silver which is alloyed with another metal (usually copper). 925 is a mark you will see on sterling and means that 92.5% of it is silver and the 7.5% is copper.
I have had a number of people tell me that they cannot wear sterling because they are allergic to the nickel in it. I buy my silver from reputable suppliers that use copper as the alloy. So if you buy my jewelry and have a nickel allergy, you won't be affected.If you do have a silver allergy you might be able to wear surgical steel, but be aware that some surgical steel does contain nickel.
Plated silver is a very thin layer of silver over another metal, usually brass (an alloy of copper and zinc) or copper, which saves money over using pure or sterling silver. You should use caution with any jewelry that is plated and not wear it while sleeping, swimming, showering (or bathing), or in activities where you might sweat. I do not ever used plated silver in my work.
Nickel silver is also used for some items. It is silver in color but contains NO silver. It is usually an alloy of copper, nickel, and zinc
Many countries, require silver to be marked with the level of it's silver content. In the US they do not and if you do stamp it as sterling, you are required to include a “hallmark”, which is a registered trademark or name of the person making the item. This is very expensive and is the reason that you do not see sterling silver stamped on my work, and that of many other jewelry artists. But rest assured that it is sterling silver. And I do guarantee my work should you have any problems down the line!
I hope everyone has a Happy Valentine's Day!