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Silver, a precious metal that is beloved by many avid Jewelry fans, and investors alike. But there is something you should know before making your next purchase of this white lustrous metal, and this may make the difference of either being ripped off or scoring a great deal.

This is what you should know. “Silver” is a very broad term. When making your next purchase, don’t just take it at face value and assume the piece of Jewelry you are about to buy is either pure silver or sterling silver, ask! Because it may be neither, you may be getting ripped off, especially if you hear this term, “German Silver” (Which should never have a hefty price tag attached to it).

Here are a few of the major types of Silver broken down and described in greater detail:

“Pure Silver”

“Pure silver has a brilliant white metallic luster. It is a little harder than gold and is very ductile and malleable, being exceeded only by gold and perhaps palladium. Fine silver, which is at its natural state, is 999/1000 pure. That kind of purity makes it too soft for molding into everyday products. Pure silver has the highest electrical and thermal conductivity of all metals and possesses the lowest contact resistance. 

Jewelry made from pure silver is stable in air and water, but tarnishes when exposed to ozone, hydrogen sulfide, or air containing sulfur. In order for pure silver to be hard enough and suitable for arts and crafts, alloying with other metallic components is a must. “

“Sterling Silver”

“Sterling silver is the standard for beautiful high-quality silver jewelry. It’s over 90% pure silver, mixed with alloys to add strength and durability. And it won’t wear down, as silver plating can. Sterling silver is the most popular concentration found in silvery items, and a marking of “925” can be visibly noted engraved onto either the backside or the inside of each piece. It is the most ideal percentage for having enough durability without loosing much of the natural bright sheen.”

“German or Nickel Silver” (Warning: NO ACTUAL SILVER CONTENT!)

“German or Nickel silver is a silvery-white alloy consisting of copper, zinc and nickel. But since many people have allergic reactions to nickel, this form is not as popular in products worn against the skin. The name for various alloys of copper, zinc, and nickel, sometimes also containing lead and tin. They were originally named for their silver-white color, but use of the term silver is now prohibited for alloys not containing that metal. 

German silver varies in composition, the percentage of the three elements ranging approximately as follows: copper, from 50% to 61.6%; zinc, from 19% to 17.2%; nickel, from 30% to 21.1%. The proportions are always specified in commercial alloys.”

So as you can see, buyers need to stay informed! It could save you a lot of money, especially if you pay full price for a piece of Jewelry, that is labeled as “German Silver”. Always, always ask, if not clearly marked, “What is the actual silver content of this piece of Jewelry?” Thanks guys, hope this helped, and if you want to see some wonderful Silver pieces, check out our website: