Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Silver: Timeless Elegance

Author: James Monahan

Silver ranks up in the top metal list, right next to gold. For those who value simplicity and elegance, and have more practical matters to consider, silver is a popular choice. And this is not even just for those who love jewelry.

Silver, through the years, has been fashioned into countless items that have proven to be indispensable to man. From utensils, accessories, gadgets, frames, and structures, silver is considered reliable because it is malleable and is even a good conductor.

If you're considering buying items made of silver, it's best to first acquaint yourself with its types:

The first type is fine silver, which is silver's natural state. Its purity is at a ratio of 99/100. At this state, silver becomes too malleable, and items tend to be too soft.

Silver has to be mixed, or alloyed, with other metallic components first to make it hard enough. At that state, it would be durable to be fashioned into desired products.

The second type is the more popular one, sterling silver. This is a result of a mixture of 92.5% fine silver with other metal components.

Buyers who wish to purchase products made of sterling silver must look for the engraved ""925"" as proof. Sterling silver is meant to be durable and shiny. Anything less would be fakes.

The third type is silver-plated. This happens when a base metal is layered with fine silver. It is also has its own sheen and durability, but buyers have often found that the items have to be coated with silver periodically, as the silver on the base metal tends to come off with wear and tear.

The fourth type has more to do with silver jewelry, called vermeil. This is sterling silver jewelry mixed with a minimum of 100 millionths of an inch of karat gold through electroplating. This gives the piece an exquisite look and a slightly different sheen.

History tells that silver has been widely used, even during centuries past. From battle weapons, flatmore, armors and jewelry, silver has been considered second only to gold by different races.

Various empires have fashioned this metal into the most intricate jewelry designs, utensils, treasures, and even foundations. Being a good conductor, it has also been a major part of scientific and technological evolutions.

There are currently many mines that produce silver. This is partially due to its popularity, and partially to its presence all over the world. Among metals, it is also the most reflective, and this means that polishing it frequently adds to its sheen.

This is not possible with other metals. Buyers only have to take proper care of their silver items, as silver is prone to scratches and tarnishing as the years go by. But its maintenance is inexpensive, and taking care of it is hardly tedious at all.

Take care of your silver by making sure that it is kept in a cool, dry storage. Divide it into separate containers to avoid contact with other environmental elements. If your silver becomes tarnished, have it polished using dry cloth and a polishing solution. Treat your silver as you would your other pieces of treasured items.

Silver, when preserved properly, can be as much an heirloom and legacy to the next generation as items made out of gold. Whatever the occasion, whether gifting others or yourself, silver is a top choice when it comes to durability and aesthetics.

About the author: James Monahan is the owner and Senior Editor of TopSilverSites.com and writes expert articles about silver .

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