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 to imitate this precious metal, so we decided to talk about how to choose the right silver so that it lasts as long as possible.
How to choose silver jewelry?
There are several ways to distinguish silver items from silver plated ones.
Silver jewelry has the appropriate marking — a sample. It indicates its content in the alloy. Since silver is a soft metal, it is compatible with other materials.
The amount of silver in the alloy is standardized, so there are the following samples: 999, 925, 875, 830 and 800.
The most common is 925 sterling silver. It contains 92.5% silver, the rest is other impurities:
The higher the metal content of the alloy, the higher the price. That is why 925 sterling silver jewelry is one of the most expensive.
Sterling silver 925 or 999 retains its color longer. Alloys with more 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 in those where the environment is characterized by a higher degree of purity. Contact with oxygen alone does not blacken the silver.
While being aware of these signs is important, it is not a 100% guarantee. If there is a MET mark on the item, 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 a clear fake.
Another method that answers the question of how to choose silver is to place a magnet on the surface of an object. It attracts base materials. If the object does not attract him, then this product is 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, it remains to be seen whether it is oxidized or rhodium-plated.
The shine of 925 sterling silver is not always natural. If products made from it attract attention with a very strong shine, they are rhodium-plated.
Rhodium is a precious metal with a brilliant silver color. It belongs to the platinum group. The name comes from the Greek language, from the word «rhodon», which means «rose».
Due to its high light reflectance and anti-blackening, rhodium is used as the top layer of jewelry. They are plated with rhodium in a galvanic way — 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 is not erased, 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’re interested in vintage jewelry with an antique look, oxidized sterling silver should be your go-to. Oxidation protects the material from corrosion. It consists in coating products with a thin layer of silver oxide.
Under the influence of this process, the surface slightly darkens and tarnishes, but there is no longer an intense natural darkening.
Oxidation serves not only to protect the ore, but also to decorate it. Jewelry accessories become like 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 an electrolyte.
Another signal that should arouse suspicion is a low price. Silver is an inexpensive ore, but items made from it must cost more than those made from steel or any other base metal. To avoid a bad purchase, choose quality silver jewelry from well-known manufacturers in trusted online stores that have been on the market for a long time, such as Silvers.