Check the Quality of Silver Jewelry
Different grades of silver are available, and it is a good idea to check the jewellery is high quality before you buy it. In America, an item can only be marketed as silver if it is an alloy that contains at least 90% fine silver. The lowest quality of silver available will therefore be marked 900. Standard silver or sterling silver is a slightly better quality alloy (92.5% silver) and will be marked 925. The highest quality of silver that is usually sold at jewellery and tableware stores is referred to a Britannia Silver and will be an alloy containing of 95.8% fine silver. This will be stamped 958. Some lower quality silver jewellery will also be plated with a very thin coating of fine silver to give it a perfect finish, and will be stamped with 999 as well as the other quality mark in order to denote this. If you are in doubt about what quality silver your jewellery is, check the product thoroughly to find the quality stamp. This mark may be very small so you may have to examine the item carefully with a magnifying glass. The mark will usually be located on the bottom, back or inside of the product so as not to detract from the item.
Silversmiths, who create the most exclusive silver jewellery, work on items at room temperature, rather than when the metal is red-hot. They use special hammers, stakes and other simple tools to carefully transform flat sheets of silver alloy into beautiful silver items. A high degree of precision is needed. Because silver is highly malleable, a highly skilled silversmith will be able to create a lot of different styles and designs. This jewellery can be a lovely item to wear on a special occasion, and can be a great gift for someone else.