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Sterling Silver Jewelry

Various sterling silver jewelry items

Know your Sterling Silver Jewelry

   With the rise of gold prices, sterling silver jewelry has become more prevalent for people seeking real, fine precious metal jewelry without having to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars. Sterling silver jewelry can come in many forms, from dainty silver rings and earrings, to large, ornate sterling silver and turquoise Native American Squash Blossoms. You will typically see larger sterling silver jewelry pieces than their gold counterparts, as it is relatively affordable to buy a heavy chain or ring in sterling silver.

   Sterling silver itself means that the material is an alloy of 92.5% silver, with the remaining 7.5% copper. This is done because pure silver jewelry would be very soft and prone to scratching, bending and breaking. That extra 7.5% of copper gives sterling silver jewelry extra strength to help the piece maintain its shape and not break as easily. Sterling silver jewelry is almost always marked ‘925’ or ‘sterling’ because of this.

  One of the downsides of sterling silver jewelry is that it tends to tarnish, unlike gold jewelry. Because of this tendency to tarnish, some manufactures of sterling silver jewelry will plate their jewelry pieces with other metals, such as rhodium and nickel. This gives the sterling silver jewelry a shiny look that is much less prone to tarnishing. Other pieces, such as older Native American sterling silver jewelry, looks better due to the natural patina that has built up over time, showing a bit of the history of the jewelry piece.

  Sterling silver jewelry is also commonly seen plated with gold. Such sterling silver jewelry is called ‘vermeil’, which is a word that means gilt, or covered in a layer of gold. The quality and color of this gold plating varies greatly between pieces, with some looking like yellow gold until it in inspected further, to others with the gold almost entirely worn off.

   No matter the condition of your sterling silver jewelry, Rancho Gold & Jewelry is here to help. Please feel free to call us at 702-626-0000 or simply bring in your sterling flatware and we would happily make you a no obligation cash offer.