Have you ever thought why silver jewelry is so alluring? There are several reasons why anything made from silver seems to catch the human eye and works like a charm when used in jewelry pieces.
For starters, silver looks stunning. As humans, our minds and eyes have been trained to acknowledge that certain colors and metals look great. One of the key reasons why using the metal silver for jewelry pieces became a thing was the fact that it looked absolutely classy.
Add to that the facts that silver jewelry is durable, easy to maintain, and much more affordable than gold or platinum jewelry, and you have yourself a winner. If you have stumbled upon this post, we are assuming that you are either here to buy some shimmering silver jewelry or know what kind silver works best when it comes to jewelry and ornaments.
Either way, here’s your quick guide to understanding the various types of silver used for jewelry making.
Types of Silver Used for Jewelry Making
- Sterling Silver
Considered as the prime choice for high-quality silver jewelry, sterling silver is known to be stamped or inscribed with the number “925” on it. In the United States, by law, standard sterling silver jewelry consists of a minimum of 92.5 percent (925/1000) pure silver and 7.5 percent copper. By far the most sought-after silver type for jewelry, sterling silver is popular because it is both durable and affordable. Sterling silver pieces are often coated or plated with rhodium to make them stronger.
- Fine Silver
99.9 percent purity or even higher – what else could you ask for? Stamped with the number “999” – fine silver is also referred to as pure silver. In terms of properties, pure silver doesn’t get tarnished quickly, but is prone to scratches and dents. It is hypoallergenic, too. Although sterling silver is your best bet if you are looking for regular-wear jewelry, the distinctive white luster of fine silver could work wonders if you are on the lookout for earrings or pendants. Please note that pure silver can appear a little dull when compared to sterling silver.
- Silver Plating
Silver-plated jewelry is generally made by electroplating or covering copper or nickel with a thin film of fine silver. The base metal used in such cases is economical in nature, thus making the silver-plated jewelry quite affordable (compared to fine silver or sterling silver jewelry). In terms of quality, this type of jewelry is susceptible tarnishing and degradation.
- Nickel Silver
While it is called nickel silver, it doesn’t consist of any silver content. Nickel, in this type of alloy, is generally mixed with zinc (which looks like silver) or copper. This alloy is also referred to as German Silver or Alpaca Silver. While this isn’t really silver, nickel silver is massively popular in the jewelry market because of its ability to be easily shaped and crafted into intricate designs.
- Coin Silver
Coin silver was made of 90% pure silver and 10% copper. Silver metal smiths were known to melt down old silver coins and use the silver thus obtained to create jewelry pieces. It is rarely found in the market now.
- Silver Overlay
In a silver overlay, also known as silver-filled jewelry, a sterling silver layer is bonded to nickel (or another metal) using heat and pressure. Again, jewelry made using a silver overlay is much cheaper than sterling silver or fine silver (and of course, much lesser in terms of quality).
- Argentium Silver
Argentium silver can potentially contain more fine silver than sterling silver. You will find this type of silver in two grades – “.932” and “.96.” Here, the silver is alloyed with metals like copper or germanium, thus making it rust, tarnish, and scratch resistant. Argentium silver is actually a brand of silver (rather than being a type), and hence, you will notice that it is quite expensive compared to sterling silver.
Tibetan silver, Thai silver, Mexican silver, etc. are some other types of silver that you might come across while shopping online. These types of silver are used in casual jewelry, but are generally not very reliable in terms of quality or longevity. They are basically just low-grade silver alloys that are named after their respective countries of origin.
So, what is the best type of silver jewelry?
Sterling silver jewelry is, by far, the safest and best quality of silver jewelry out there. What makes it reliable is that it is strong, durable, and versatile. The versatility aspect of sterling silver jewelry is evident in the range of collections that you will find in the market, including:
- Sterling silver bracelets
- Sterling silver bangles
- Sterling silver earrings
- Sterling silver pendants
- Sterling silver necklaces
- Sterling silver rings
.925 and .925 STG are the commonly used marks for sterling silver jewelry. In some cases, or in vintage jewelry pieces, you are likely to find the older marks (STG, STERLING, or STER).
Where to Buy Silver Jewelry in Wholesale?
Whether you are a retail customer or someone who needs silver jewelry in wholesale, P&K Jewelry is your one-stop solution. From dainty earrings and trendy bracelets to gorgeous anklets and sultry necklaces, we have it all.
Founded in 1995, P&K Jewelry has evolved over the last 25 years to become one of the world’s largest sources for sterling silver jewelry. Our designs and collections are inspired by people, trends, technologies, art, nature, and more. Apart from wholesale silver jewelry of the highest quality, we also offer a wide range of interesting accessories.