Silver Jewelry for the Woman of Today

Silver, known for its shiny silver hue, is one of the three basic metals used for producing jewelry. Silver Jewelry has always been a popular choice with women. However, the acceptability and demand for silver jewelry as a fashion accessory has shot up considerably in the past decade.

The present popularity of silver jewelry can be attributed to the elegance and versatility associated with it. It is today accepted as a more contemporary jewelry option vis-à-vis the expensive and heavy traditional gold jewelry. In fact, on comparing one finds out that little has changed in the designs of gold jewelry over a period, whereas, fashion demands have created an environment where the trendiest designs are often created for costume and silver jewelry.

Most silver jewelry available as on date is crafted out of sterling silver. Sterling silver is an alloy containing almost 93% silver and 7% copper. The seven percent alloy gives the silver hardness and durability. Without the alloy, the silver piece would be too soft to wear.

Today, a wide variety of stylish jewelry pieces are available in sterling silver ranging from plain silver to silver crafted with colored gemstones. From a fashion perspective, sterling silver is mainly suitable for daytime wear. During winters, silver gels well if worn with black, blue and other dark colors. Yet in the summer, worn with pastels and lightweight clothing, silver looks cool and comfortable.

Silver in History

Silver is one of the oldest found metals on earth. It has been extensively used in jewelry and utensils since 4th millennium B.C. First attempt to mine silver is said to be have been made around 3000 BC in the areas of Anatolia. A process,"cupellation" was found out in order to extract silver from silver ores around 2500BC.

Silver was used in ancient Italy and Greece for making personal ornaments, vessels, jewellery, arrows, weapons and coinage. It was used as currency in many civilizations. Silver coin as a currency was first introduced in the eastern Mediterranean in 550 B.C. The discovery of the American countries marked an important twist in the history of silver as the major silver mines in Mexico, Peru and Bolivia were found.

The term "Sterling Silver", emerged in England by the 13th century.

The pound sterling was used as currency in England from the 12th century until the middle of the 20th century.

During the same time, in the far east, Chinese silversmiths produced some of the most elegant and beautifully crafted silver jewellery some of which was exported to the Royalty of Russia.

Sterling silver, while no longer used in circulating currency anywhere in the world, is still used for flatware, jewellery and plates. Production facilities that use modern technology to supply fashionable silver articles to high fashion jewellery retailers, have evolved as a result of growing demand.

Caring tips for silver jewelry

Sterling silver jewelry gets tarnished fairly quickly. Silver tarnish is caused by oxidation reaction between the silver, oxygen and sulfur. Over a period, sterling silver develops a dull finish that gives it an antique look. Over exposure, builds up a black oxidation in the fine details giving the jewelry piece a beautiful and unique look.

To minimize the oxidation process while storing silver jewelry, it should be stored in an airtight container lined with something soft. Time to time cleaning is required to maintain the silver shine. Common cleaning methods include:

o Using warm water and mild dish soap

o Using a soft toothbrush or cotton swab