Not all silver jewelry is the same, so you must know how to discern the different qualities and to pay for exactly what you are getting. Hong Factory contributed to the following useful information on silver jewelry:
The different types of silver
When silver is used for jewelry manufacture, it is usually an alloy, which means that it is silver mixed with another metal from the periodic table. Every finished piece of silver jewelry usually has to have a marking on it somewhere which is a quality stamp and indicates what type of silver was used.
Fine .999 silver
The number indicates that this is the purest form of silver, 99.9 percent pure. This indicates that only 0.1% is another trace element. Fine silver has a fine luster, even more bright than sterling, but it will be very soft and prone to scratches and dents, especially when used to create rings and bracelets that can be damaged while worn. It is sometimes used for earrings and necklaces.
Make sure that if you are buying fine silver that the quality stamp writes .999 FS or .999.
Sterling Silver .925
Most of the world markets use and prefer sterling silver. The alloy consists of 92.5% silver and 7.5% of some other metal. The most popular choice is copper. The need to add an alloy assists in making the silver harder and more durable. The alloy also helps to give it a better shine and color.
The color of sterling silver resembles white gold or platinum, but it can tarnish with time, especially if not worn often. Tarnishing does not render your item worthless, all it needs is to be cleaned with a solution and soft cloth, and it will be as good as new and ready to wear again.
In Italy, a lot of sterling silver jewelry is fiished with rhodium to prevent it from tarnishing, but this will make the pieces pricier.
If you are buying sterling silver pieces make sure that the quality stamp reads .925 or 925 STG.
This type of jewelry will have non-tarnish alloys like copper and germanium, and a minimum of 92.5% silver. The germanium protects the Argentium silver from tarnishing and it is a harder metal. Generally, they require less maintenance than sterling silver, and take far longer to tarnish.
Price-wise it is more expensive and is also more difficult to find on the market. The quality stamp is usually the same as for sterling silver, .925, because manufacturers struggle to use the Argentium stamp, it’s too big for delicate pieces of jewelry.
This is quite a rare silver, but it used to be popular in the U.S. until a few years back. It usually consists of .900 or 90% silver and 10% copper. The name is deceiving, but this is not the type of silver used for coins. However, it was usually made from refined older coins. Today, silver is not used in coins. Often, you will find collectible coins that have .900 silver; only buy them if they have their certification.
Silver-filled and silver plated
These items have a very low silver content and became popular when the price of silver shot through the roof a few years back. They are more affordable, but don’t need a quality stamp and with time the silver can wear off, exposing the layered metals.
The name nickel silver is deceiving since it contains no silver, but describes the color of the nickel. It is often used in costume jewelry and because of its high nickel content, people are often allergic to it.
Tibetan, Tribal, Bali, Thai or Mexican Silver
Be wary of these names, all these countries produce good silver, but if the items don’t have the .925 stamp, then they could be made from low grade alloys and perhaps contain no silver at all.
“The silver metal used at Hong Factory can be traced back to its source. The best method of testing is used to assure that the elements in the silver are pure; it is known as assay and accurately determines all the elements and ratios by melting down 0.5 grams of a sample. We provide our trade partners with a certificate of the exact composition of the materials present in our jewelry.”
Mr. Hang, owner of Hang Factory, Thailand.
Hong Factory, silver wholesale jewelry manufacturers
At the heart of Bangkok, Thailand, is the Hong Factory, producers of fine silver jewelry. The manufacturers and wholesalers have 50 years of experience in producing modern and Marcasite pieces that reflect the mood of today’s woman.