Sterling silver is one of the three precious metals. Sterling silver is the most lustrous, most plentiful and least expensive precious metal. The standard for sterling silver has remained unchanged since 1300 when Edward I of England established an early trade practice rule for silversmiths, decreeing that sterling must consist of 92.5 percent pure silver alloyed with 7.6 percent copper. The copper is added for hardness. The term "sterling" refers to the composition of the metal, never to the weight of a finished item.
Silver is much more plentiful than gold; however, silver tends to tarnish, making it less popular in some forms of jewelry. Like gold, silver is too soft for use in its pure state and must be combined with other metals for durability. Jewelry made of silver parts and gold parts must carry dual designations such as "Sterling and 10K". There are three approved markings to indicate sterling:
Since silver will discolor or tarnish over time from being exposed to air, many of our pieces will feature a "tarnish free" tag. This indicates that a protective coating of either rhodium plate, platinum plate, or a poly-coating provides a barrier from oxidation. Over time these finishes will wear off, but they do provide an extended time before oxidation occurs.
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