Did you know that sterling silver dates back to 1238 when King Henry III set the standard for silver products?
Ever since then, it’s remained a popular material for all household objects like vases, dishware, and jewelry. If you’re in the market for a stunning piece of sterling silver jewelry, you’ve made a great choice!
But all jewelry, materials, and metals are different, and there are some unique things to keep in mind. Here are some tips for buying sterling silver jewelry, so you know exactly what you’re getting.
1. Look For the “925” Hallmark
When King Henry III passed the sterling silver quality law in England during the 13th century, he was very specific. He stated that all sterling silver products should contain at least 92.5% silver, and the rest can be alloy metal.
Nowadays, this metal is often copper. This makes sterling silver jewelry more durable than pure silver jewelry and can help it look better for longer.
All pieces of authentic sterling silver jewelry should still have the “925” hallmark engraved somewhere on the piece. Look for it when you are buying sterling silver jewelry, so you know it’s genuine.
If it doesn’t have the number, it might only be silver-plated jewelry. This is not as high-quality as the silver coating will rub off over time.
If you are struggling to find it, ask the jeweler to help. And if you are buying online and cannot see the stamp in the photographs, ask the seller to send you a photo of it.
2. Sterling Silver Will Tarnish and Scuff
While sterling silver is a durable material, it will tarnish over time, and it does oxidize.
So, if you’re buying symbolic jewelry meaning engagement or eternity rings, sterling silver might not be ideal. Stronger materials like gold (either yellow, white, or rose) or titanium might be preferable for special jewelry.
And if you are buying body piercing jewelry in sterling silver, note that the pierced part will change color after a couple of weeks. Stainless steel is an affordable alternative to sterling silver.
To lessen the chance of tarnishing, invest in silver buffing cloths and keep your jewelry in soft bags. Sterling silver still looks great even when tarnished, but it’s something to keep in mind.
3. Don’t Overpay for Sterling Silver Jewelry
Silversmiths started making sterling silver around 1,000 years ago. Why? Because it’s cheaper than buying silver jewelry in its purest form.
While you are browsing the shops and online stores for sterling silver jewelry, compare the prices. If one piece of jewelry is selling for a much higher price for no good reason, try a different store.
Is Sterling Silver the Right Jewelry Material for You?
Sterling silver jewelry isn’t always the best material for every piece, but it has plenty of great qualities, too. It’s strong, durable, hypoallergenic, and looks pretty.
And if you keep these important tips in mind when buying sterling silver jewelry, you will get a great deal and know exactly what to expect.
Buying jewelry as a gift and want to know more about what materials are available? Or want to know more about jewelry trends for yourself? Check out our website for lots more jewelry tips!