Sterling Silver

Valued as a precious metal since ancient times, silver is used to craft many fine jewelry pieces on the market today. Once considered more precious than gold, pure silver is a soft metal with a white, lustrous hue. In addition to jewelry making, silver is used in a wide variety of industrial and decorative applications, including fine serving ware, flatware, decorative accents, personalized gifts, coins, and electrical components. Silver is a by-product formed during the mining of other metals, including gold, lead, copper, and zinc.

At Brilliance, we proudly offer a wide assortment of sterling silver jewelry pieces. Preferred by many for its budget-friendly value and versatile coloring, this easy-to-care-for metal exhibits a timeless elegance and superb durability.

Silver Purity & Composition

Due to its high level of inherent softness, pure silver is actually too malleable to be used alone in jewelry making and it is easily dented or scratched when exposed to daily wear and tear. Instead, silver is typically mixed with other alloy metals to give it strength. Copper is the most commonly chosen companion; its durable resilience lends stability and longevity to sterling silver pieces.

At Brilliance, each of our sterling silver pieces boasts a purity of .925, which denotes a silver content of 92.5% and an alloy composition of 7.5%. This is the standard that determines whether a jewelry piece can be designated as "sterling" or pure silver--anything less than 92.5% does not qualify.

Silver Purity & Composition

Color of Silver

Color of Silver

Pure silver possesses a milky-white or grey color that has inspired the nickname "metal of the moon." At Brilliance, we coat all our silver jewelry pieces with a layer of rhodium metal to create a lustrous, long-lasting shine comparable to white gold. The rhodium coating can be reapplied periodically to return the piece to its original, bright gleam.

Silver is more prone to tarnishing from oxidization than other precious metals, which can cause its surface to dull or turn black. You can help prevent these undesirable effects by following the proper guidelines for polishing and storing sterling silver.

Hallmarks

The most reliable method of ascertaining the purity of a sterling silver piece is to examine it for hallmarks. First implemented in France and Great Britain as early as the 14th century, a hallmark is a stamp or marker applied to a piece of silver jewelry to indicate the amount of its pure silver content, and in some cases also signifies the date of production and country of origin. These stamps are usually applied with a special branding tool or small hammer. A stamping of ".925," "Sterling," or "coin" all indicate that a silver jewelry piece meets the "sterling" or pure silver standard. Although it is not a government-mandated law in the United States to stamp a piece of jewelry with its hallmark, Brilliance stamps each piece of our high quality silver jewelry as a means of ensuring a confident, informed jewelry shopping experience.

Hallmarks

Care & Maintenance

To help extend the longevity and beauty of your silver pieces, you should follow the proper guidelines for care, cleaning, and storage. Since it's much softer than other metals and gemstones, silver requires special cleaning methods to retain the integrity of its texture and composition.

To remove oil, dirt, tarnish, and smudges from the surface of silver, you should polish it regularly with a soft cloth. Never use rough or coarse fabrics, as these can result in scratching. Avoid using harsh chemical cleaners, especially those containing bleach, which can discolor silver. Every few months, you might consider taking your silver piece to a professional jeweler for a thorough cleaning, and after several years of constant wearing, perhaps a fresh coating of rhodium to recapture its original shine. At Brilliance, each of our fine silver jewelry pieces comes with complimentary professional cleaning and polishing services for life to restore your purchase to its original luster. Perhaps even more important than a proper cleaning regimen is the method of storage used for your silver pieces. To prevent the oxidization that can cause dullness and tarnishing, each silver piece should be stored in its own soft pouch, plastic bag, or box lined with tarnish-resistant material. Avoid keeping silver in warm, moist environments, like bathrooms. Instead, store jewelry in a dry, cool location.

Care & Maintenance | Brilliance.com

History of Silver

The use of silver dates back many years, demonstrating the metal’s rich history. In ancient Egyptian times, some believed that silver possessed religious and spiritual significance, and it was often used during worship. Originally considered much more precious than gold, silver did not become available to the middle class until the 16th and 17th centuries. In the 1800s, nobility began using silver in their tableware, flatware, and other serving accessories.

Since early history, “silver” went by many different names. First introduced in 12th-century lore, “sterling” became part of silver’s common name. As payment for English cattle, an association of eastern Germans compensated the British with silver coins dubbed "Easterlings." Eventually, the Easterling was widely accepted as a standard of English currency. Ultimately abbreviated to "Sterling," the name now refers to the highest grade of silver metal.

History of Silver

Argentium Silver

More pure than traditional sterling silver, Argentium silver modifies the traditional alloy by replacing some of the copper with germanium making this a nickel-free metal. The two available grades of Argentium, .932 and .960, each contain more pure silver than sterling, giving this alloy its bright, white color. The nature of this metal ensures the natural color stays consistent throughout the lifetime of the piece, making rhodium plating unnecessary. Argentium comes from recycled silver and guarantees the traceability of its raw silver.

Argentium silver is the whitest metal available, outshining white gold, sterling silver, palladium, and platinum. During the quality-assurance laboratory testing, scientists discovered that Argentium was far more tarnish-resistant than traditional sterling silver. When forced to contend with the harsh effects of pollution, perspiration, and ultraviolet light, Argentium passed the tests 100% of the time. Argentium is highly sought after due to its sustainability, easy maintenance, and superior brightness and shine.

Silver Pricing

Silver is far less expensive than other precious metals like gold and platinum. The main factor considered when pricing a piece of silver jewelry is the metal's current market price per gram. As a general rule, the heavier a piece of sterling silver, the higher the price. The base price is a calculation of the item's weight and the current cost per gram, although that's not the only contributing factor. Other considerations include labor costs to forge and finish the piece, added materials such as rhodium and gemstones, and the level of intricacy and craftsmanship required to complete the piece.

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