A wide range of contemporary and traditional designs
Silver has been used to make jewelry since ancient times, but the exploration of continents in the western hemisphere uncovered productive silver mines that greatly increased the supply of this precious metal. The result—more silver has been mined and used since the late 1700’s than in all prior centuries combined.
What is Sterling Silver?
Pure silver is soft, too soft to create durable jewelry, so it’s mixed with other metals to enhance performance. One popular silver mixture (an alloy) is known as sterling silver.
Sterling Silver Markings & Descriptions
The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) stipulates that jewelry sold in the United States cannot bear silver markings or be described as silver, solid silver, sterling silver, sterling, or with the abbreviation Ster. unless it contains at least 92.5 percent pure silver.
The minimum silver content can also be stated as 925 parts per thousand of pure silver, so you might see the figures 925 or 92.5 used to designate silver content.
Copper in Sterling Silver
Copper is the metal most commonly used to make up the remaining 7.5 percent content of a sterling silver mix. Copper makes the silver harder, but gives it a tendency to tarnish, a darkening that occurs when sterling silver reacts with gases in the air or with other substances that it comes in contact with.
Caring for Sterling Silver Jewelry
Store your sterling silver jewelry in tarnish prevention cloths or bags. The treated cloth slows down the tarnishing process and keeps the jewelry from rubbing against harder jewelry that might scratch it. Try to to keep your sterling silver jewelry in a cool, dry place.
Mayfair Jewelers has an extensive selection of silver jewelry. The most popular lines are Colore | SG, Ed Levin, Pandora, and Dobbs Boston.