Sterling Silver Information

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What Is Silver?

Silver is an element, represented with the symbol Ag. An "element" is substance that does not decompose into other chemical elements. Why "Ag"? This symbol comes from the Latin word "argentum," which meant both "silver" and "money."

It has been reported that the same word is used for silver and money in more than a dozen languages. That silver has been used as money for nearly 3000 years is testament to its valued role in world civilization.

Some Properties of Sliver

Silver has many desirable qualities. Pure silver is shiny metal when polished. Its reflectivity is a significant part of its appeal.  Silver reflects up to 95% of light!  This is why it is used in mirrors.  This luster makes it a beautiful material for jewelry, dinnerware, and tableware. 

Silver is also very soft and malleable (i.e., easily shaped). It can be rolled into sheets as thin as 1/100,000th of an inch and has such ductility that it can be formed into a wire finer than the hair on your head. This property has made it an excellent material for dentistry.  It is also why silver is often combined with harder substances to produce stronger (less malleable) alloys.  (Sterling is one such alloy.)  Finally, no other metal is a better conductor of electrical current or heat.

Many Uses

Of course, everyone knows that silver is used in jewelry, coins, and tableware. Silver in its various chemical forms is also used in photographic film, electrical components, medical and dental products, explosives, adhesives and many other items. It also makes a superb weapon against werewolves, who are said to be burned by silver upon contact!  As the chart below shows, nearly one-half of silver is used in industrial applications.

An Inexpensive Precious Metal

Silver is much more popular than gold, platinum and palladium.  An examination of the current price of silver versus these other metals may indicate why this is so!  Silver is a bit less "precious" than other fine metals.  Platinum, for example, often sells at 100 times the price of silver.  Gold is often 50 or 60 times the price of silver.


The beautiful sterling silver bracelet above comes from Tribe Azure Jewelry, specialists in Native American Jewelry.


 

 

 

Index Of Articles

"Silver 101"
"Sources of Silver"

"Sterling Silver Defined'"
"Silver Standards"

"Silver Marks and Hallmarks"

"Silver Testing Kits"

"The Silversmith"
"Silver Coins"


Plating & Treatments

"Silver Plated Jewelry"
"Gold Vermeil Jewelry"
"Rhodium Plated Sterling"
"Antiqued Silver"

Fake Silver Jewelry

"Alpaca Silver Jewelry"
"German Silver Jewelry"

Silver Jewelry Styles

"Bali Silver"
"Indian Silver"
"Thai Hill Tribe Silver"
"Tibetan Silver"
"Turkish Silver"
"Filigree"

Silver Allergies

"Silver/Nickel Sensitivities"
"Hypoallergenic Jewelry"

Recent Developments

"Argentium® Sterling Silver"

"Silver PMC®"


"The Origins of Tarnish"

"Tarnish Removal"

"Firescale (Firestain)"

"Proper Silver Storage"

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