Education on Silver

What is Silver?

Name: Silver
Symbol: Ag
Atomic Number: 47
Atomic Weight: 107.8682 (2) [see note g]
Standard State: Solid at 298 K
CAS Registry ID: 7440-22-4
Group in Periodic Table: 11
Group Name: Coinage metal Period in
Periodic Table: 5
Block in Periodic Table: D-block
Color: Silver
Classification: Metallic
Melting Point: (961.78?°C, 1763.2?°F)
Boiling Point: (2162?°C, 3924?°F)

Silver History:
Silver has been used for jewelry since 3500 BC when the Egyptians created ornaments. The word "sterling" is short for "Easterlings" a form of money used in 12th century England. Silver can be found pure, but is usually mixed with small amounts of gold, copper, arsenic, and antimony. The Chinese were reluctant to disturb the Earth is spirits by mining and removing precious metals but used silver and gold when they were available through trade with the West. The Chinese used silver for cups, bowls and dishes. This white metal has had an illustrious history, at times being more highly valued than gold. Long used as a medium of exchange, its name is synonymous with money. Today, silver has found many new uses including photography, batteries, auto glass defogger, magnetic strips, etc. Its most outstanding feature is its luster. Silver will take a higher polish than any other metal. It has the singular drawback that it tarnishes. Metal smiths often use this feature to highlight certain design elements. Modern chemicals easily remove tarnish, but the fact remains that silver needs more care than the other precious metals. Silver is more abundant and much less expensive than gold or platinum. This has a lot to do with its popularity. Some jewelry styles, like the Native American, rely strictly on silver. Silver is more difficult to work than gold, because it conducts heat so well. Beginners often learn soldering on this less expensive metal. When they graduate to gold, they find it easier to control the heat.

Price of Silver:
The Silver price is alculated on a daily basis on the big stock markets in London, Tokyo and New York, the price is $ / troy ounce. The price of Silver jewelry depends on the jewelry design, purity, weight and amount of the material needed for this particular item. The techniques of construction can make a piece more durable and flexible for added comfort. A well-made piece in a classic design will give you years of wear and enjoyment and if cared for properly, will last a lifetime. Unique design, intricate details, gemstones or a special clasp may add to the price.

Silver Alloys:
Silver is also alloyed. Most common is “Sterling” meaning .92.5% with the rest usually copper. Other European alloys are 87.5%, 83% and 80% silver. Some South American silversmith is use an 80% allow that does not tarnish. The actual alloy should be stamped on the jewelry. Niello is a black mixture of silver, copper, lead and sulfur. It is used to fill in designs. Is more like enamel than an alloy.

Mexican Silver:
Usually 95% silver and 5% copper.

Coin Silver:
90% silver, 10% copper by US standards. Is used in some countries and could be marked "900" or "800" depending on fineness.silver Clad: - term referring to US Half Dollars made from 1965 to 1970. Made with an outer layer of 80% silver and 20% copper bonded to an inner core of 20.9% silver and .791% copper. Overall 40% silver.junk silver: - silver coins of circulated quality. Often used to describe bags or common US silver coins that were pulled out of circulation when silver was disappearing. Does not mean the coins are damaged. Junk silver rolls or bags usually will not contain scarce dates, low mintages, or high quality coins.The smallest United States silver coin ever made is the three cent silver piece, occasionally called a trime, or fishy scale. Three cents might not sound like very much money but it would be the equal to about 50 cents in todays purchasing power. Back in the 1800s the average worker only earned about 10 cents per hour.Silver Certificate(s): The several series of USA papermonies, authorized in 1878, backed by and redeemable in silver by the US Treasury. The silver redemption privilege was revoked in 1968, but the notes remain, of course, legal tender.

Britannia Silver:
Is at least 95.84% silver. In 1700, the Britannia standard for plate silver was introduced, in place of the sterling standard, to discourage the melting down of coins to make plate silver. This raised the purity of silver plate from 92.5% to 95.8%. One result was that silver was too soft for for elaborate decoration and more simple "Queen Anne" lines took hold.

  • Sterling Silver:
    Silver has many of the properties of gold. It is malleable and an exceptional conductor. Since silver is also very soft, it is usually alloyed with copper. In fact, that is what sterling silver is, 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper.

    Silver ------- Percentage------- Quality Mark800 ------------ 80% ---------.800
    used for casting900 ------------ 90% --------- .900
    coin silver925 ------------ 92.5% --------- .925
    Sterling Silver950 ------------ 95% --------- .950 aka Mexican Silver958 ------------ 95.8% --------- .958
    aka Britannia Silver999 ------------ 99.9% --------- .999 aka Fine

Fine Silver:99.9% silver is called "Fine Silver." Sterling components and jewelry made in the USA are often stamped "Sterling." Goods made for international trade are often marked "925" indicating the 92.5% fineness.

Healing Power:
In general, Silver is believed to benefit circulation, help lungs and throat, and detoxify the blood, to aid in the treatment of degenerative brain diseases, balancing of hormones and chemicals and improvement of nerve impulse transmission. They also use it for treating hepatitis and detoxifying the body.New Age healers have taken Silver is conductive abilities and translated that into the belief that it can conduct the body is energy. They believe it can remove negative energy from the body and channel the positive energy of other minerals into the patient. The minerals they use with Silver include Turquoise, Agate, Jet, Moonstone and Lodestone or cooler-colored gems. Lodestone set in silver is said to aid in eyesight.

Mental Healing:
Healers recommend Silver for hormonal and/or chemical imbalances and improving the transmission of nerve impulses, all of which can affect the patient is mental state. They also ascribe powers for improving communications, reducing conflicts and increasing popularity, transforming energies and negativity and cleansing/balancing emotions.

Problem of Silver:
One major draw back of silver jewelry is that it is prong to tarnish. Silver will almost turn deepening to brown and to black. This process is quicken by today is inner city where there is lots of air pollutions. Silver is also sensitive to alkali compounds. Which means things like sea air can tarnish the silver.

How to Clean Silver:

  1. Sterling silver will polish up by rubbing or buffing it with a soft cotton cloth. A chemically treated cloth, like a Sunshine Cloth, makes the job a lot easier and faster. 
  2. Sterling silver dips are fast and easy. However, be careful! First, many dips will take the color and polish off many gemstones. Second, when using a dip, if you leave the piece in too long, or do not rinse it well enough with fresh water, white residues will be left on the piece when it dries. The residue is difficult to rub or pick off. When using a silver dip, dip the piece quickly in and out of the dip. Then immediately rinse it in clean water. When the piece dries, buff it with a soft cotton cloth or a Sunshine Cloth. The buffing brings out more of the shine, helps take off any residue left on the piece, and with a Sunshine Cloth, leaves a little bit of a protective anti-tarnish coating on the piece to keep it shiny longer. A dip should only be used when a buffing with a dry cloth does not work.
  3. Tarnish Shield, or similar lacquer shield, will keep the piece of jewelry shiny until the tarnish wears off. You should be aware that pieces that have been lacquered do not age well, until all the lacquer has worn off. In spots where the lacquer has loosened from the sterling, but not worn off, the silver will tarnish, but you will not be able to buff it.If you use a dip to clean a piece that has a tarnish shield, often the dip will get under parts of the lacquer, leaving a residue, wherever the lacquer is beginning to wear off. If the piece is a chain, or a filigree, the lacquer will form a film within the openings and cracks. This obviously makes the piece ugly.The simplest way is usually the best way. Get a clean, soft cloth and polish your silver. It will be beautiful again!