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Silver is one of the metals that has been used in jewelry making almost as long as gold. It is a precious metal of white-grey tone that was already being used by the Egyptians in 4000BC, being Anatolia mines the major source of this metal by that time. Silver jewelry dated 3000 BC were found on excavations at ancient Sumeria. This metal has been largely used in the New World too, as Spanish conquerors discovered in the 16th century. Natives from Mexico, Panama, Peru and Bolivia demonstrated they were skilful artisans handcrafting silver jewelry pieces.

Archeological findings proved that by 1000BC North and South American tribes were already using innovative silversmithing techniques.

Chinese also used silver on jewelry and overall silverware, and back in 200BC they brought their techniques to Korea, from where it spread to Japan. However, it was during the 18th century when they started using silver extensively.

The 19th century brought a generalized expansion in the utilization of silver on jewelry as it became cheaper due to the technological advances of those times. The electroplating was discovered, making silver jewelry affordable to almost anyone willing to own a silver jewel.

Since it is a soft metal, it is very easy to work with it. However, pure silver jewels can be easily damaged, therefore, pure silver is usually combined with other metals to increase the durability of the piece. Typically, it is combined with copper to give it more strength. Even though it is precious metal, it is affordable, and its shinny appearance has nothing to envy to gold’s lustrous surfaces. Furthermore, silver is more versatile to be adapted to casual and informal styles as well as to more formal and sophisticated pieces.

Silver in jewelry is classified according to the purity of the piece, which means the percentage of pure silver contained in the utilized metal alloy.

Fine silver has the highest level of purity. Also called pure silver, its purity level is of .999. Even when it stands out for its brilliance, it is not the preferred silver form for jewelry because of its flexibility and short durability.

Sterling silver

is the most widely used in jewelry making. It consists of an alloy of silver and another metal, which is normally copper. To be considered sterling silver, the allow has to contain a 92.5% of pure silver and up to 7.5% of the second metal. It is strong and durable enough to make jewelry pieces such as bracelets, rings, necklaces and earrings.

Silver plate or silver tone,

is a cheaper alternative to purest silver options. It consists of a thin coat of fine silver covering a piece made of a base metal. This form of silver is not recommended to be used in jewelry that is used regularly since the silver layer tends to wear off within a short time of usage.

Nickel silver,

also known as alpaca, German silver or Argentan is an allow that mixes nickel, copper and zinc. It does not contain pure silver, so its name is totally confusing and misleading. The name nickel silver comes just from its similar appearance to silver.

Precious metals and diamond buying services in New York City will evaluate your silver jewelry so as to determine the silver purity level of your piece in order to give you a fair and real price. Precious metals’ specialists at DiamondBuyerNYC will be pleased to examine your jewels, give you a thorough evaluation and clarify all your doubts.