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SILVER

Silver is a soft, white metal that has been loved for its beauty and versatility. Ancient civilisations considered the metal sacred and therefore restricted its use. In recent times, silver has been used to create a variety of jewellery designs.

Silver has been one of the fundamental metals we use in our jewellery. Bright in colour, the reflective and soft pure metal is alloyed with other metals to improve its durability and create lustrous designs.

Sterling Silver

As silver is relatively soft and scratches easily, it is standard practice to alloy pure silver with harder metals to improve its strength. Sterling silver is the world’s most popular silver alloy. To be classed as sterling silver, the alloy must contain at least 92.5% pure silver. The remaining 7.5% can be made up of other metals, most commonly copper.

Sterling silver is highly regarded for jewellery use as it preserves the colour, lustre and mass of pure silver and also significantly improves the metal’s durability, making it more resistant to wear and tear. 

History

One of the first metals discovered and used, most likely by the ancient Egyptians and Greeks,  it is estimated that silver was first used around 5000 B.C. It was commonly used in currency throughout history, with the first silver coins were minted around 500 B.C.

When Christopher Columbus discovered the "New World" in the 1400s, major sources of silver were found in Mexico, Peru and Bolivia. The precious metal was also used for paying debts, for ornaments in homes and places of religion and for the utensils of the wealthiest families. In modern times, the production of silver has increased dramatically. 74% of all pure silver ever extracted from the Earth has been mined since 1900.

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symbolism

Since ancient times, silver has been closely associated with the moon and was given the symbol of a semicircle by the Egyptians, which later evolved into a moon-like icon. Apollo, the god of truth and light, carried a silver bow, which led to silver being given as a symbol of trust, wisdom and love.

oxidation

An oxidised finish is frequently used on sterling silver. The oxidation process imitates the natural tarnishing process, which will happen to all silver over time, leaving the sterling silver with a darker finish. The oxidation can be used on an entire jewellery piece or on parts to highlight details and create depth.

The oxidised finish is applied by submerging the jewellery into a solution of water and a chemical known as liver of sulphur. Afterwards, specific areas of the jewellery design are polished to create contrasts between the oxidised and shiny sterling silver areas.