Aren’t silver jewels just the same I mean, it doesn’t matter the name it has; it’s only made of silver, right?
Well, not all silver is the same, and we intend to show you below. We have about ten types of silver, and although most of them are great, they have their features differences.
Thus in knowing the differences, you will understand them. If you are keen, you can tell the difference because of the shine, luster, and aesthetic value.
- But why the differences.
- Best types of silver
- Fine or pure silver
- Sterling silver
- Argentium silver
- Coin silver
- Nickel silver
- Silver filled jewelry
- Tribal silver
- Bali Thai or Mexican silver
- Can you test the silver quality in the alloy?
- Did you find one to buy?
But why the differences.
Silver is a beautiful metal that’s in its element form. But it rusts easily, and you can’t use it purely, so you have to mix it with other metals to create the jewels. Notice that the silver since its mixed with other metals will be different in many aspects.
One notable difference is that the percentage of silver determines the quality. It’s also the same thing that gives it the name as well as the features.
Silver metal is an alloy.
Before you buy the silver, it’s essential to know that the silver metal is an alloy and never in its pure form. It features the use of other elements in the periodic table to make it manageable.
Good silver also has good quality marks.
The fine quality silver must have a stamp on the finished piece. It will be somewhere to show you the authenticity. But of course, these stamps should be of great quality for them to be genuine silver.
Of all the test methods, this is the quickest method to test the silver for authenticity.
They have very tiny marks that, unfortunately, you can only see with the magnification glasses. Of course, it’s possible to have fraudulent marks, but those are rare case occurrences.
Best types of silver
You will have the jewelers sometimes referring to their jewels as silver. Sadly, if it does not indicate the amount of silver content it has, it can be anything from 10% to 99% silver.
Notice that there’s no 100% silver to make jewels, so the lack of indication makes the silver ornament questionable.
Only buy the jewels if it has approved stamps with the exact indication of the amount of silver percentage.
When you come across the term silver, it will often refer to the silver plating with is also cheaper than the other silver versions. Of course, the price is influenced by the fact that it will peel off sooner.
If I were you, I wouldn’t buy a jewel that’s called the mystery silver name.
- It’s silver for your jewels.
- It’s readily available.
- It’s a trick by jewelers who don’t want to say the silver grade they have is inadequate.
- It’s not durable as it will soon flake off.
Fine or pure silver
Fine/pure silver is the most genuine type of silver. They feature the use of 99.9% silver, and it comes labeled as 999. Sometimes though, it will come labeled FS. It further has .1% other elements that are added to it. People like it just because it’s very close to the white silver and it’s hypoallergenic.
While this is quite amazing, note that it’s very soft and will be scratched easily and lose its shape. So, most people don’t use this element for the jewels because of how soft it is; therefore, it will soon lose its shape unless you want to have it for temporary use.
Notice though that fine silver isn’t the perfect option when you want fine jewels. They have a ridiculously short lifespan since it will lose its shape.
- It’s the purest form of silver
- It’s further lustrous and white
- It’s hypoallergenic.
- It will soon lose its shape, thus not a good idea for jewels.
In the world of jewelry, the most common option is sterling silver. It has about 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper.
Of course, the additional 7.5 is what makes it hard enough for it to stay in shape when molded. It’s also the purest form of jewels we have in the market because you never find people making the jewels using pure silver.
Sterling silver is perfect and lustrous, but then it will tarnish quickly. Over time, it will start to oxidize again. The copper in the alloy is the one to cause the change in color because pure silver will never tarnish by itself.
Read more: Does Sterling Silver Tarnish
But don’t worry because you can clean the tarnish easily. So expect to see it labeled as 925, 92.5, STG, and sometimes they refer to it as STER.
Generally, this silver is hypoallergenic, but sometimes it will have traces of nickel, which can cause skin allergies.
- The sterling silver is durable
- The sterling silver is beautiful and shiny.
- The pieces are hypoallergenic.
- It will quickly tarnish.
More reading: Sterling Silver Vs Silver
This is a new form of silver that focuses on tarnish resistance. The modern silver alloy is also durable, and it’s a form of sterling silver that was born in the 21st century.
It has a purer silver than the regular sterling silver. It comes at 93.2% or 96% silver, and you can see it’s more than the sterling silver. The remaining percentage is made using copper to make it easier to mold.
These pieces are excellent; you will find that it’s easier to clean, but it’s also easy to maintain.
Notice though that this is a brand by itself, and therefore, only the authentic jewelers work with it. They have a genuine stamp, so this is the most authentic version of silver. Notice that it’s free of nickel; therefore, it has hypoallergenic.
With these features, of course, you can expect it to be a lot costlier than other silver types. So the other remaining percent is made using copper or germanium. This metal is ideal since it will make the alloy harder, and it will never tarnish.
- This is very durable
- The piece is tarnish-resistant
- It’s easier to maintain than other pieces.
- It’s hypoallergenic
- It’s costly than other silver types.
- It’s hard to find it than other pieces of silver.
You may want to check out Argentium Silver Vs Sterling Silver.
This silver is very common in the US and Europe. However, it’s not as common as it was in the past, and its name is a little confusing for most people.
It’s 900 silver or 90.0% silver; it then comes with a 10% copper. Although it’s called coin silver, it’s not made to make a coin. This kind of silver is just the same as sterling silver, with the main differences being the amount of silver in the sterling silver.
- This is more affordable, and it’s almost the same sterling silver.
- It has just the right purity level.
- It is a rare type of silver.
- It’s not easy to find.
- Well, it will tarnish quickly.
Here, understand that the silver name in the nickel silver refers to the color and not the silver content. So this piece consists of copper, nickel, and zinc but zero silver content. It’s often very similar to silver metals, and it’s commonly used on costume jewels.
So this is nothing to do with the silver alloy. Notice that it can be lustrous, shiny, and bright, thus looking so much like sterling silver.
It’s the best since it is easy to shape and create perfect shapes. Remember, it’s not hypoallergenic, thus not a good idea if you have allergies.
They also call it German silver, alpaca silver, argentine silver. Remember, it’s not an alloy of silver, though.
- This is very affordable.
- You can use it for any costume jewels.
- It’s very durable.
- Hey, it’s not silver.
- It’s not hypoallergenic since it features the use of nickel too.
- Some people sell it as sterling silver.
Silver filled jewelry
If you know the gold-filled metal, then this is also the same as types. Well, it’s just the type of silver that’s between silver plated and sterling silver. Now, remember this is not an alloy of silver; instead is a type of plated silver.
Notice that it features a more massive layer of silver. Often it has either 5% or 10% silver by weight in comparison to sterling silver. It further has a brass core, so remember the layered metal won’t be cast either.
We would like to say that it’s still a lower quality type of silver than other alloys. It was as standard when the silver prices surged but not as popular today.
Note that such silver tarnishes much easier. It’s much che3aper than regular sterling silver, which means it can act as a quick fix.
- It contains a lot of silver than when you are using the silver plating
- It’s much affordable
- It will tarnish much easily
- It’s not perfect for skin sensitivity.
Are you familiar with the gold plate, rhodium plate, and any other metal plate method? This is the same type as this silver plate. It features the base metal then a thin layer of silver to cover a very thin layer of silver. So the silver amount is minimal and negligible.
Remember, the plated jewels aren’t durable. It will often start to flake over time, and that will expose the silver you have underneath the silver layer.
Don’t expect it to have a hallmark since it has just a small amount of silver.
- It’s affordable.
- It can work as excellent costume jewelry.
- It’s ideal for a quick fix.
- Not durable.
- Not hypoallergenic.
Like the nickel silver we have above, the only reason it’s called silver is its appearance.
So it has no silver content, but it’s mostly used for costume jewelry. There’s a disclaimer with such jewels though you want to make sure you don’t give the pieces to kids, and you should also be careful when buying it.
Sometimes it can contain lead; that’s why before you order it, you should check with the retailer that it’s safe.
- It can create stunning designs
- It’s inexpensive
- Sometimes they may contain harmful metals
- It’s not hypoallergenic
- Sometimes it never has a silver
- It’s not even durable.
Bali Thai or Mexican silver
The last on the list is the Bali/Thai/Mexican silver. We must note that there’s a lot of silver from Mexico, Thailand, and Bali. Now not all silver is silver; they call this name is from Bali Thai and Mexico; therefore, they should be marked for identification.
Notice that if it’s not stamped, it can be some of the poor quality silver from either the same countries or other places. Remember, the name of the silver will not guarantee that it’s of great quality. You should only buy this silver from reputable shops and places. If you bargain in the bargain streets, then be sure you are buying not good silver.
Can you test the silver quality in the alloy?
Of course, you can test the silver quality and content in the alloy. You can use the methods below to know that for sure.
X-ray testing is the safest method to use, yet it will require you to use a special treatment with some expensive metals. This one calls for you to send the jewels to the lab. The good news is further that it’s mostly accurate. Nonetheless, it may not figure out if the silver is only plated.
Wet chemical assay: this one is destructive since you will remove a little part of the metal from the silver permanently. The little piece is what the lab then goes to test. If you can find a reputable lab, this is the most reliable method to test the silver content.
Did you find one to buy?
Well, now you have all the necessary information you need to make the decision. Of course, we have given you even the pros and cons, making your work easier. I’m sure you notice that you can have different kinds of silver and come in at different prices.
Make sure you check the authentication of the silver. This will lead you to buy only legit pieces. They must have the stamping while also passing the test of the great quality options.
So there you have it the types of silver we have in the market. Only buy silver jewels only from people you trust. But also avoid nickel if you have metal allergies.