Thursday, July 28, 2011
How to Buy Silver Jewelry
The silver used in silver jewelry is not pure 99.9 percent silver. It is usually alloyed with another metal such as copper to give it some strength and durability. Silver jewelry tends to wear rather more than other types of silver, such as silver coins and bars, so it is important to ensure it keeps well.
Most silver used in silver jewelry is 92.5 percent pure. This has pretty much become the standard and applies to silver found in the US as well as the UK, Europe and many parts of Asia, such as Bali, Indonesia for example. Some silver found in Asia is pure silver however.
Sterling silver found in the UK and used for cutlery and tableware is made from sterling silver. Sterling silver usually has hall marks stamped on it.
Britannia silver, usually 95.84 percent. It is also hallmarked.
Be aware there is a term called 800 silver. This is not sterling or continental silver although often called that. It is only 80 percent silver. It is found world wide. When buying silver get the dealer to state it is not '800' silver.
Mexican silver can be 95 percent silver. Minerva Silver, or French silver, is also 95 percent silver.
Probably the first step is knowing what you want, an engagement ring, bracelet, or broach etc. Then knowing what style suits you best. What types of setting interest you most, what gemstones, diamonds, rubies etc you prefer. Only you know the answers to those questions. Having decided what you want, even if only in a general way, that will cut down your search and eliminate much that you don’t want. The next step is to find some examples of what you are looking for online. There are literally millions of pieces of silver jewelry so having some idea of what you want makes the search less confusing and also more fun.
When buying silver jewelry online, pick reputable jewellers who clearly explain what the pieces are, particularly when it comes to any gem stones in the setting. Is there any history to the pieces if it is old and somewhat antique? Antique jewelry is a subject in itself and prices of these can be much higher than the usually silver jewelry.
Does the dealer have a fixed address? Do they have a returns policy? These are the sorts of questions you need to have answers for before you buy.
Of course going to a silver jewellers and checking the pieces yourself, how they look on you and talking to the shop assistant is good. Remember though that the lights in such jewellers are designed to show off the merchandise to its best. Take a piece out into the daylight to see what it really looks like if you can before you buy.
Buying silver jewelry online or in a jewellers is easy. All you need is an idea of what you want, what suits you and, of course, the money!