The silver types

date: 2/8/2012

There’s a large variety of different names for silver jewelry and many different items made of silver on the market. So, how do we know the types of silver and the meaning of them? This article will educate you to understand the different terminologies of the silver types whether it’s silver jewelry or silverware.

What is silver?

Silver is a noble metal which has been used for many hundreds of years. Silver is mined from many countries around the world.
Fine silver is 99.9% pure silver and is normally considered too soft to use for most Jewelry and silverware. Therefore, other metals are added to the pure silver such as cooper to make it stronger.

The different types of “Silver”

Sterling silver is the main type and most common of silver used in jewelry and silverware like Judaic.. This is solid silver. Sterling silver is a mixture of 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% cupper. Sterling silver is hallmarked as “925”.

Silver plating is common all over the world for jewelry, miniatures, sculptures and many other things in industry.  Silver plated items are made using a base metal, normally brass or nickel but can be many other kind of materials which is then put through an electroplating process. Electroplating is a process which covers a very very thin layer of pure silver onto the base metal.

Famous silver plating process call Electroform it is special technique for covering wax with a thin layer of pure silver. There is in the market all kind of jewelry, sculptures, miniatures and silverware in this technique; the advantage is that all the products are light; the disadvantage is when it’s broken, can’t be repair.

The result is a sterling silver looking item at a much reduced price. It may look like sterling silver but the silver plating tends to wear off quite quickly form jewelry daily use exposing the less than beautiful base metal. On the other hand, for sculptures and miniatures it is exposing the beauty of the item and mostly doesn’t wear off. 

Alpaca Silver or German silver is not actually silver at all. It is a grayish looking alloy which resembles silver. It is sometimes referred to as nickel silver, and white copper. It is also used as a base for silver plated items because of its appearance. 

Alpaca is a metal which has been used for hundreds of years like real silver and there are many antique jewelry and silverware are valuable thanks the art less to the metal.

Antiquing or oxidizing of Sterling Silver Jewelry

Antiquing is very common in the silver industry today and is the practice of applying a finishing process to sterling silver to give the item an appearance of age. As well as giving the item an appearance of age, it also helps to produce a contrast which makes the details of intricate designs stand out better.

In summary there are many ways to finish silver jewelry; shiny, oxidized or matt. The important thing is to identify the metal as silver because it's come in many texture and finishing. 

More articles