Sterling silver jewelry is a very popular choice for consumers who want every day items and desire a white vibrant color. It’s malleable, so designers like to work with it because it can be bent and shaped in to various designs while maintaining its shine and color. Sterling silver is made of 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% copper, although there’s other metal types that can be substituted for the copper. The copper alloy hardens the metal and makes it more suitable to worn as jewelry, this makes it the best choice for use as a silver alloy.
The finishing process for silver jewelry varies from one piece of jewelry to the next. Some silver jewelry is nickel-plated and then rhodium plated, the rhodium plating makes the sterling silver look very white and prevents it from tarnishing. Other silver jewelry is chrome plated to provide similar anti-tarnishing effects. Silver jewelry that’s plated prevents the item from tarnishing and that’s good, however plated silver jewelry can’t be sized or polished. When you polish plated sterling silver it’s plated coating comes off and can’t be re-applied at the jewelry store level. This makes the jewelry looks strange because it has different types of white coloring. Sterling silver jewelry that isn’t plated can be repaired with no problem, although if the jewelry isn’t constantly worn it will tarnish.
Silver is the least valuable of the precious metals that are used for jewelry, and most of the cost for silver jewelry is associated with labor and craftsmanship. Silver jewelry is a great choice when looking for an affordable gift, however there’s certain maintenance issues you should come to know about silver jewelry. Silver jewelry is relatively expensive to repair in respect to its value, a silver ring may only cost $49 but sizing it may cost $30. For some people this comes as a surprise when taking their new purchase to a local jeweler for sizing. Keep in mind that the cost to repair or mend silver jewelry is not determined by the amount or cost of the silver metal, it’s the labor that affects the cost. Craftsmen that work on silver jewelry have to spend more time heating and polishing silver jewelry than white gold jewelry, for example. The more time the jeweler spends working on the jewelry the more you’ll pay for the repair, regardless of how inexpensive the silver is.