Sterling Silver Information

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Alpaca Silver Jewelry

Alpaca silver (sometimes spelled "Alpacca") is a "fake silver" used often as a replacement for sterling silver in jewelry designs.  It is made by combining copper (60%), nickel (20%), zinc (20%), and tin (5%).  The effect is a grayish material that some people think resembles silver. It is often used as the base metal for silver plating in jewelry and other items.

Alpaca silver is sometimes referred to as nickel silver, German silver, Paktong, and New Silver.  It was first formulated in Germany in the 1800s by two chemists, Henninger and Geitner.

A chief advantage of Alpaca silver is that it is inexpensive and does not rust or tarnish.  However, over time it can look dingy and form a green patina (owing to its copper content).  With alpaca, beautiful jewelry can be made quite inexpensively, such as the alpaca piece to the right, adorned with turquoise.

The important thing to keep in mind is that Alpaca silver jewelry contains no silver.  It is an imposter, and a good one at that.  We have absolutely no problem with people selling Alpaca silver jewelry, as long as they disclose that their "silver" is silverless.  Most reputable merchants do so, to their credit.

Unfortunately, alpaca silver is sometimes sold fraudulently as sterling silver.  We have also seen alpaca sold on site with descriptions that suggest that the merchants do not know what they are selling. 

No professional will ever be fooled by Alpaca silver, but many consumers have no doubt been tricked.  That is not to say that Alpaca silver jewelry cannot be beautiful; it certainly can be.  It just does not have the look and luster of silver.

One disadvantage is that individuals who are sensitive to nickel may develop a rash (contact dermatitis) if they wear Alpaca silver 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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