Since silver is a precious metal that changes its properties under the influence of certain factors, you should find out its type before buying. Many alloys are made that imitate this precious metal, so we decided to talk about how to choose silver correctly so that it lasts as long as possible.
How to choose silver jewelry?
There are several ways to distinguish silver products from silver-plated ones.
Silver jewelry has the appropriate marking — test. It indicates its content in the alloy. Since silver is a soft metal, it combines with other materials.
The amount of silver in the alloy is standardized, so there are the following tests: 999, 925, 875, 830 and 800.
The most common is 925 silver. It contains 92.5% silver, the rest — other impurities:
The higher the metal content in the alloy, the higher the price. That is why 925 silver jewelry is one of the most expensive.
925 or 999 silver retains its color longer. Alloys with a large number of additives darken faster. This occurs as a result of a reaction with sulfur oxide. Sulfur compounds are found in air and water. The more polluted they are, the higher the concentration of sulfur compounds. Therefore, in such regions, silver will darken faster than where the environment is characterized by a higher degree of purity. Contact with oxygen alone does not cause blackening of silver.
Although awareness of these signs is very important, it is not a 100% guarantee. If the product has a MET mark, it means that the item is silver-plated, that is, it is made of non-precious metals. When it is passed off as silver, it is clearly fake.
Another method that answers the question of how to choose silver is to apply a magnet to the surface of the object. It attracts ignoble materials. If the object does not attract him, then it is a product made of precious metal.
How to successfully choose a good rhodium-plated silver?
After you have made sure that you really have silver in front of you, you still have to find out whether it is oxidized or rhodium.
The shine of 925 silver is not always natural. If products made of it attract attention with a very strong shine, they are rhododendrons.
Rhodium is a precious metal of shiny silver color. It belongs to the platinum group. The name comes from the Greek language, from the word «rodon», which means «rose».
Due to the high coefficient of light reflection and anti-blackening, rhodium is used as the top layer of jewelry. They are coated with rhodium by the galvanic method — using direct current. As a result, the silver surface becomes resistant to blackening and acquires an intense shine. As long as the outer layer of rhodium does not wear off, silver not only does not darken, but also does not tarnish. This will allow you to enjoy its splendor for a long time.
Which oxidized silver to choose?
If you are interested in vintage jewelry stylized as antique, then you should pay attention to oxidized silver. Oxidation protects the material from corrosion. It consists in covering products with a thin layer of silver oxide.
Under the influence of this process, the surface darkens and darkens slightly, but there is no more intense natural darkening.
Oxidation serves not only to protect the ore, but also to decorate it. Jewelry accessories become similar to ancient works of art. To obtain oxidized silver, the product is immersed in a special solution or an electrolytic method is used — treatment with a current flowing through the electrolyte.
Another signal that should cause suspicion is a low price. Silver is an inexpensive ore, but products from it should cost more than steel or any other low-value metal. To avoid an unsuccessful purchase, choose high-quality silver jewelry from well-known manufacturers in proven online stores that have been on the market for a long time, such as Silvers.