Perhaps the most popular choice for jewelry is silver. All around are people, men and women alike, adorned with silver accessories, which are relatively of low cost compared with other jewelry pieces made of other precious metals, particularly gold and platinum. Many people like silver because it is not only affordable but also has a classy appeal, thanks to its attractive shimmer and brilliant sheen. Because there are so many businesses involved in selling silver items, it is best to arm yourself with a handful of tips on what to look for when shopping for this metal.
Compared to items made of gold or platinum, silver offers a much wider range of options. There are silver ornamental or decorative items for the home and the office, such as picture frames, mirrors, main furniture pieces, desktop accessories, kitchenware, and bathroom fixtures. There are silver finishing touches in some technological gadgets, such as cellular phones and iPods. And there are silver fashion accessories in the form of jewelry, such as earrings, necklaces, rings, bracelets, and anklets, among many others. With so many styles and designs to choose from, it is highly recommended that you shop around before settling on and purchasing an item. This way, you can check which stores have the best quality and the most affordable prices as far as silver jewelry is concerned.
Know Your Markings
If you don't know which type of silver to look for, you might end up buying the wrong stuff - stuff that will make your turn green some time after contact and exposure or stuff that will make you itch. Most people don't know this, but jewelry made entirely of silver does not exist. This is because silver is such a soft metal that using it in its original and pure form will only result in pieces that will break, melt, or crumble easily. To make silver sturdier and more durable, other metal alloys are usually mixed with it. The best pieces that are allowed to be called silver jewelry are those made of sterling silver, which has a purity of 92.5% or, in other words, contains 92.5 grams of pure silver in every 100 grams. This is the highest quality of silver in the market, and commercial sterling silver jewelry pieces are usually marked with the number "925" for easy recognition.
See silver necklaces for a full listing of silver alloys used in jewelry.
Affordable Handmade Jewelry
Another thing you should know when buying silver is that sterling silver jewelry may either be made by hand or by machine. Naturally, hand-made silver pieces are priced much higher than their machine-made counterparts because more value is placed on the works of human hands. Moreover, hand-made silver pieces are usually individually unique, while machine-made silver pieces are often mass-produced and unoriginal. If you take pride in wearing one-of-a-kind jewelry, go for hand-made silver items.
Your sterling silver jewelry accessories need attention and care because they are sure to tarnish after a while. This is normal even in pieces made of sterling silver because the alloys mixed with the silver are bound to react with the air, causing the surface to show tarnishing deposits. Maintenance is key to keeping the shimmer and sheen of silver, so polish your pieces from time to time. For more details on silver care and cleaning, see siver rings.