Fine Silver ~ Made of 99.9% pure silver and .1% additional alloy or binding agent. This silver will be stamped with a ".999F" to indicate that it is fine silver. This is the type of silver used in Shimmerlings items that are hand formed using metal clay.
Sterling Silver ~ Made of 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% copper or other alloy, these proportions are fixed by law. Sterling silver will "patina" in time, that is, it's color will take on an "antique" look. This silver is stamped with a ".925" to indicate that it is sterling silver.
Below are additional details of sterling silver types:
Bali Silver: The distinctive
styling of a Bali, Indonesian
sterling bead are apparent by the intricate detail and high quality
of their beads. Each bead is individually crafted by an extremely
labor-intensive process requiring tremendous skill and patience.
The Balinese silversmiths devote the same attentive care into
each bead that they put into all aspects of their ceremonial life.
Perhaps this is why we find the Balinese beads so irresistible. It's
not just a bead, but the reflection of a culture; the people, their
perfectionism, and the devotion to their work which denotes each bead
a work of art.
Turkish Silver: Handcrafted
Turkish silver beads are similar to those handcrafted in Bali.
However, the Turkish beads have a slightly different feel and design
to them. Like Bali beads, each silver dot is individually placed
and surfaces are intricately detailed by hand. No two beads are
alike. Turkish components are true treasures portraying a lifetime
of artistic culture and heritage.
Karen Hill Tribe or Thai Silver: One of six tribes located in the remote mountain areas of Thailand, the Karen Hill Tribes peoples are quickly becoming world-known for their incredibly skilled silversmiths.
Each of the Hill Tribe's beads is beautifully handcrafted out of a higher content silver, (usually .999 as opposed to .925), incorporating centuries-old techniques known only to the Hill Tribe's people, which makes their work distinctive from all others. Quite often the beads will be engraved with flowers, plants, animals and shapes significant to their culture and beliefs.
A gentle people, the Hill Tribes are grateful for the trade of their handcrafted silver pieces. Purchasing their masterpieces of silver art helps to aid in the preservation of their tribal culture and provides an alternative to growing opium, a traditional cash crop as the bulk of the world's opium grows in this area.
Mexican Silver: North Americans will discover large amounts of contemporary Mexican silver jewelry at the local mall wherever nice silver is displayed; although not necessarily advertised as such, many rings, earrings, pins, necklaces, and bracelets now being sold - generally those with abalone, turquoise, or semiprecious stone inlays - were likely imported from Mexico. Older pieces often find their way to vintage, antique, and collectible stores; these pieces tend to have a more complicated, heavier look. A quick review of online offerings can provide hours of enlightenment regarding both typical styles and typical prices of Mexican Silver. Perform a search on "vintage Mexican silver" or "sterling" or "Taxco" (a city in Mexico known for its silver), or a combination of these terms; for an in depth look at the offerings.
The markings inside silver jewelry perplex even the most earnest student, as they are often "stamped" in some motif although generally illegibly so. Many pieces are helpfully labeled "sterling;" others - especially older pieces - are only dubbed "silver" or "Mexico silver." Often the international system of grading silver, such as 925 or 800 to indicate the degree of purity, have been included but not all the time. In addition, some pieces state, "Hecho in Mexico" or "Taxco" to indicate a piece was manufactured in these locations.
Very often a symbol or initials, or some combination of these elements is also stamped into the metal - rendering it "signed" by the artist or his studio. Many fine pieces however are unmarked altogether or marked in such a way that it is hard to make out what is there. "Alpaca" is a Spanish term frequently stamped on jewelry indicating a durable, brilliant white metal (similar to so-called German silver or nickel silver), which indeed contains no actual silver at all. Many of these jewelry pieces are worked with the same care and artistic charm as examples made from silver, so do not scorn them all together, simply be aware that they are not silver and therefore should be offered at a lower price.
German Silver: This is a name for a material that is not silver at all, but for a combination of various alloys including copper, zinc, and nickel, sometimes also containing lead and tin. German Silvers were originally named for their silver-white color, not an attempt to mislead. The use of the term silver is now prohibited internationally for alloys not containing silver. German silver varies in composition, most often though the percentage of the three elements ranges approximately as follows: copper, from 50% to 61.6%; zinc, from 19% to 17.2%; nickel, from 30% to 21.1%. The proportions are always specified in commercial alloys. German silver is extensively used because of its hardness, toughness, and resistance to corrosion for articles such as tableware (commonly silver plated), marine fittings, and plumbing fixtures. Because of its high electrical resistance it is used also in heating coils. It was discovered (early 19th cent.) by a German industrial chemist, E. A. Geitner. The letters EPNS on silverware stand for electroplated nickel silver.
Silver Plated, Gold Plated and Nickel Plated ~ These items have an industry standard of .15 to .25mls thickness silver, gold or nickel which is plated to the surface of the base metal. It should be treated the same as pure silver, as it will tarnish as well, and if not cared for will wear off and turn gray.
Silver Finish, Gold Finish ~ Also called Silver Colored, or Gold Colored, or washed, the base metal is brass or steel and the product is electroplated with a non-standardized thickness of silver gold or nickel. Since there is not a standardized thickness for "finish" pieces, one can never be certain what it is likely to be. The items are most commonly used for their hardness.
Gold Filled ~ These items are made by combining a layer or layers of gold alloy to a base metal (usually brass), then rolling or drawing the metal to the desired thickness and shape. It has a long life and can be worn by most people without reactions or difficulties. Silver or gold filled items, unlike plated is that "filled" is generally considered a lifetime product and will not tarnish or wear off like electroplated products will. Fills contain 100 times the amount of precious metal than plated.
Karat (kt) ~ This is the measure of fineness of gold. 24kt is pure gold, 14kt gold is 14 parts pure gold. The balance is alloy. 14kt is the standard fineness used for most jewelry in the USA.
Nickel Silver ~These are made of an alloy, mostly containing nickel, popularized in German and Native American jewelry. Nickel silver resembles sterling silver in color, with a slightly grayer tone.
Vermeil ~ These are items made of sterling silver, heavily electroplated with 22kt yellow gold. Therefore it is stronger than pure gold (with the silver inside) but still gold, and should be treated the same as any other lifelong jewelry item.
Pewter ~ Is a separate alloy and is available in both genuine and lead-free varieties.
Titanium ~ This is a neutral gray, lightweight metal. After manufacturing into the desired shape, such as ear-posts, the neutral gray base metal titanium can be anodized into six colors. Please note that anodized titanium ear-studs are not certified hypo-allergenic, however most metal sensitive people can wear them comfortably.
Nobium ~ This is a hypo-allergenic metal first engineered to protect hypersonic aerospace vehicles from extreme conditions. After manufacturing into the desired shape, such as ear wires, headpins, eye pins or jump rings, the naturally gray base metal niobium is then anodized to create six signature colors. Most people who are metal-sensitive can comfortably wear niobium.
History & Information of Sterling Silver Jewelry
silver has been a precious metal ever since it was discovered; long
ago before it was even written down for history's sake.
The basic use of sterling silver, has always been for jewelry because of its notable beauty and appeal. However, silver also has a wide range of unique uses such as in film, computers, and even the coating on thermal windows.
The history of sterling silver jewelry, carries its own interesting story. Sterling silver mines were first recorded in history during 4000 BC; in Anatolia (Turkey). This was the source of sterling silver jewelry; and many cultures in that area of the world started using sterling silver jewelry as a trading means. This was the first record, of sterling silver jewelry being valuable. Since then onwards, there were always records of more intense efforts to mine silver; as its value started expanding worldwide. The Chinese, started mining sterling silver around 2500 BC; and has improved on refining the silver to make it even more alluring and sought after. They also found ways to make it easier to excavate.
Throughout the years, mines
in Greece became the main producers of silver for the rest of the world;
this continued for several centuries until Spain came into power with
its own deposits of sterling silver that brought them power in trading.
Spain started exploring the world, and used its sterling silver jewelry
to trade for valuable spices and other goods.
Sterling silver jewelry began to accelerate throughout the world when North America and South America were discovered. Mexico and Peru were discovered to hold silver mines which dwarfed the sterling silver deposits that had recently been mined to the east. Soon it was said that more than three quarters of silver in the world was mined from Peru and Mexico.
With technology developments, came new ways to mine silver; with new refinement techniques to enhance its value to another level, and also expanded its uses for beauty as sterling silver jewelry.
With all the mining of silver throughout the world came different styles and ways to wear silver as jewelry. Sterling silver jewelry has always been known to enhance the beauty of precious stones such as diamonds when they're set into a ring or necklace. Many powerful men and women throughout the ages would wear magnificent sterling silver jewelry items to show off their riches.
Sterling silver comes in a different variety of styles and textures. The usual sterling silver that is seen on jewelry is usually highly polished and reflects the light beautifully. However, silver also comes in a different variety of different finishes such as rhodium. It gives jewelry the characteristic of white gold but with a slightly darker finish.
One of the main drawbacks to sterling silver jewelry is its tendency to tarnish. This is caused from the slightest impurities in the silver which react with the air. Silver polish and other remedies have been created through to the ages to keep silver jewelry looking its best.
The most popular silver today is sterling silver which is actually 92.5% sterling. The other make up percentage is either copper, zinc, or nickel. This jewelry is popular because it is more durable than pure sterling silver jewelry; yet still maintains its beauty.
Although fine silver is experiencing a quick and popular come back with the creation of Silver Metal Clay. Silver Metal Clay is a product which is made up of miniscule particles of silver mixed with a polymer compound allowing the artist to create with metal as a child might with clay! Then during the firing process of the silver metal clay, the compound is changed, the polymer is completely burned away leaving a 99.9% fine silver product. This is an incredible discovery and has lead to much more creativity in the sterling silver jewelry world!
Sidhe Queen Scathach From the Isle
Copyright © 2004-2011 All rights
reserved. Shimmerlings, Inc. ~ Jeane Margherite
Page Last Modified: October 2, 2011