Silver is one of the most beautiful of all precious metals. There are several different types and grades that come from areas all over the world. German, Mexican, Indian and Russian silver are just a few of he various types. When silver is named by country, it means the silver was mined and produced in that specific area. Most people, however, do not think of silver as coming from a particular region or country. Instead, they think in terms of pure, sterling or fine silver.
Pure or Fine
Pure silver is extremely malleable. Silver in its truest form is very soft and bends easily. Even slight amounts of pressure can cause fine silver to bend and become misshapen. Pure silver must be mixed with other metals such as copper, zinc and nickel to make it sturdy enough to be worn as jewelry. Without the addition of the other metals, pure silver jewelry would easily lose its shape. When other metals have been added to the silver, the alloy that is created can be shaped into almost any form.
For the most part, silver in its purest form is sold in ingots that serve as a form of currency. Even silver coins are required to possess other metals to ensure the coins retain their shape as they are passed from person to person. Ingots can be bought and sold at many jewelers and can be kept much like gold bars and ingots.
Sterling silver has been around for centuries. It is much stronger than pure silver and will retain its shape much easier. For silver to be considered “sterling”, it must have no more than 7.5 percent of any alloy. Sterling will still bend slightly when put under immense pressure, but is ideal when used for flatware and other kitchen utensils. Silver tea sets were common with royalty and other wealthy families, along with loving cups and other types of trophies.
Sterling silver has been a mainstay in the jewelry industry for centuries. Its firmness along with its brilliant shine has made it a popular alternative to gold. It is relatively inexpensive when it comes to the precious metals with gold and platinum being the most expensive. For the value it is probably one of the most cost effective of all jewelry metals.
Silver has been found in many countries across the world. These silvers can range from having anywhere from 800 to 950 or more parts of silver. Depending on where the silver is mined will determine how much true silver it contains. Mexican and Russian silvers are known to have several, productive silver mines. Silver can also be found in many European countries as well.
Silver has retained its popularity for generations, with many of its admirers continually choosing it over gold and other precious metals. Silver is easily cared for and when worn regularly will not tarnish. If silver does begin to tarnish, wiping it down with a mild silver polish will bring back its brilliant shine and luster.