From fashion jewelry to faucets, there have been many significant changes in the popularity and prevalence of precious metals over the years. Few have withstood the test of time. Sterling silver is the exception, and it’s easy to see why. This affordable, durable, beautiful metal outshines competing options. What makes this the substrate of choice in the fashion and jewelry industries?
8 Must-Know Facts About Sterling Silver Beads
1. Sterling silver beads are formed from a mixture of metals.
Sterling silver is an alloy, or mixture of metals. To bear the “sterling silver” namesake, sterling silver beads and findings include a blend of 92.5% silver, as well as several other metals (or combinations of metals). The most common combination is silver and copper, though composition may vary.
2. Sterling silver is stronger than 100% pure silver.
Because silver is a soft metal, it’s prone to dents, scratches, and warping. For jewelry that sees frequent use, that won’t do. Adding copper and other metals to silver makes it harder and more durable, while still maintaining its beauty and value.
3. Sterling silver bears markings of origin and authenticity.
Assayer’s marks denote the origins of each piece of sterling silver, bearing animals and other symbols that signify the country in which each item was made. In addition to this, sterling silver pieces will also boast a number showcasing purity, usually “925,” which stands for 92.5% silver.
4. The value of sterling silver fluctuates.
Though it’s not a pure precious metal, the value of sterling silver changes based on the market price of silver due to the alloy’s high silver content.
5. Sterling silver can tarnish.
While adding copper and other metals to form sterling silver imbues strength, it also makes it more prone to tarnishing with oxygen exposure. Fortunately, you can keep sterling silver jewelry looking its best with regular cleaning with a soft microfiber cloth and nonabrasive polish.
6. Some chemicals can damage the sterling silver.
Always take off your jewelry when swimming in a chlorinated pool or cleaning with bleach, as these chemicals corrode silver. Long-term exposure to sunlight, salt water, perfume, and hairspray also accelerate corrosion. Be mindful of activities before donning your sterling silver creations.
7. Proper storage can prevent tarnishing.
Storing sterling silver jewelry in sealable polyurethane bags, or with desiccants, can prevent tarnishing from humidity and oxygen exposure.
8. Sterling silver can irritate the skin.
Fortunately, flashing with a thin layer of pure silver, plating, and other coatings can damper irritation.
Ready to Design with Sterling Silver?
With proper care, sterling silver can last a lifetime – or longer. Create jewelry designs that will stand the test of time with our wide variety of sterling silver offerings, including:
- Sterling silver beads & findings
- Silver Bali beads
- Sterling silver alphabet beads
- Ready-made silver jewelry
Create a beautiful, lasting, sterling silver masterpiece. Shop the amazing selection of beading supplies at Crystal Findings today.