American Silver Eagles are the world's best-selling silver coins, first issued in 1986. They are only offered in 1-ounce containers, although a 500 oz version is also available. There are many types of silver available on the market today, and it is important to familiarize yourself with competing metals in the industry to inform your customers about silver quality standards and alternatives. Don't assume you are buying sterling silver jewelry when something is called silver. Below, you'll find definitions and comparisons of the different silver metals used to make jewelry around the world.
First of all, customers should understand that the silver used in jewelry is usually an alloy, which means a metal mixture of two or more elements on the periodic table. Other metallic elements are alloyed with silver for a variety of reasons described below. Secondly, many finished silver jewelry will have a quality stamp somewhere on the piece. This is the quickest way to identify quality, although there are cases of fraudulent marking, but they are quite rare.
These small marks may only be readable with a magnification. However, jewelry items or components should only be stamped when a surface is available. For that reason, small finds and components are often not stamped, even though they are quality alloys. Jewelry that is sold only as silver is a bit of a mystery. The term is launched on the market as a descriptor of color, especially in fashion.
However, in the jewelry trade, items must be clearly identified as a specific standard quality. Otherwise, the silver alloy is unlikely to be of very high quality. Artists and jewelry manufacturers are legally required to seal pieces when space permits or label finished products with quality designations. Silver filler is a new stratified metal that was introduced during the recent increase in silver prices during the recession. It is not an alloy because the metal content is not the same throughout the material.
Instead, all the sterling silver is on the surface. The silver filling is 5% or 10% sterling silver by weight cast with heat and pressure in a brass core. This metal is fairly new, so it's not standardized in the US. UU.
Because the silver filler is a stratified metal, it cannot be molded. The silver layer is much thicker than the silver one, but it is still a much lower quality product than jewelry supplies and solid sterling silver alloys. It will wear out and should only be welded with precision equipment and special training. Now that the price of silver has fallen from past highs, the metal is less common in the market. At this time, there is no legally approved quality seal standard for silver fillers.
However, some use the seal. Silver plating is another type of silver base metal with an extremely thin layer of silver coating applied to the surface. Even when jewelry is described as being plated in fine silver, the total silver content is a small fraction of one percent. Silver-plated jewelry is affordable jewelry. The coating may wear out and will eventually wear out to expose the base metal underneath. Jewelry will not have a quality seal, but may bear the manufacturer's logo or seal.
Tibetan silver and many other types of silver, described as tribal silver, etc., are base metal alloys that only look like silver. The content of alloys varies greatly and many do not contain any silver content. Some of these exotic land imports contain hazardous metals such as lead. This jewelry should be purchased with caution and should never be given to children. Tribal pieces can be very beautiful, so buy them for the value of the design rather than the value of the metal. None of these lab tests are a viable option for consumers looking for a rapid test at home.
Instead, consumers are advised to purchase silver from reputable sources that honestly reveal the details of their materials. Quality seals are also an excellent indicator when they are available. Halstead is one of North America's leading distributors of quality jewelry celebrating its 46th anniversary this year. Halstead specializes in wholesale pieces, chains and metals for jewelry artists.
Types of silver solder used in jewelry include investment-grade sterling silver which must be 99.9 percent pure or stamped with a seal that certifies its purity; junk silver which generally refers to coins minted before 1964; and plated or filled metals which contain no real silver at all.