Silver is the only other precious metal that has been as revered and valued as long as gold. While most societies and civilizations have placed silver second to gold, its popularity currently challenges gold for the most purchased precious metal for jewellery. Historically, silver has been the workhorse of precious metals.
Silver has been used for kitchen utensils, hence the term silverware, ornaments, and jewellery. Currently, silver is also used in electronics, computers, photographic film components, disinfectants, micro biocides, and many other uses. However, its continuing appeal in jewellery is not waning. In fact, the purchase and demand for silver jewellery is on the rise.
When looking to purchase silver jewellery, there are many factors to consider. Unlike gold, silver will react with certain chemicals, but will stand up to harsh wear just like gold. Most silver jewellery wearers prefer Sterling Silver. This silver has a high durability and lustre due to the infusion of lead into the silver. Also, Sterling Silver is the easiest to care for as it does not tarnish as quickly as pure silver does. In fact, human body oils help to fight tarnish in Sterling Silver. So, the regular wearing of Sterling Silver jewellery helps to keep it clean and attractive.
Another attractive quality of silver comes from its antimicrobial property. More and more people are finding themselves with certain allergies and an inability to wear certain metals. This has made the wearing of earrings and necklaces difficult for some. In some instances of sensitivity only 24 carat gold can be worn. However, silver jewellery does not produce as many reactions in individuals as other precious and semi-precious metals do. For this reason, silver jewellery sometimes becomes a choice out of necessity.
Some of the lasting attractions of silver jewellery are the many manifestations of it throughout history and across different cultures which continue through to today. Native Americans, Celts, Asians, and many other exotic cultures mark their unique world views in their silver jewellery and artefacts. These pieces are both highly prized and duplicated for sale. Many specialty jewellers have made their mark commercially and artistically through combining, replicating, and creating unique silver jewellery designs.
One property of silver should be considered when purchasing jewellery: silver has a higher melting point than gold. This results in making the shaping and sizing of silver jewellery more difficult than it is with gold. This is the reason why most jewellers will specialise in one precious metal or the other. Rarely is it both. When purchasing silver jewellery, as with any piece, make sure the size and setting are correct.