Look, we love a gorgeous gold ring just as much as the next person, but we also have a soft spot for the underdog — and for years, silver jewelry lived in gold’s shadow. But silver is trending again, and we’re cheering it on. Let’s get to know a little more about jewelry’s favorite comeback kid.
Silver Jewelry: Fast Facts
We love to learn the “hows” and “whys” behind things, so we’ve come up with some fast facts on silver to gain a little insight into why it seems to be making such a big comeback.
- The word “silver” comes from the Anglo-Saxon word “seolfor.”
- Silver was first discovered by humans somewhere around 3000 B.C.
- In ancient Egypt, silver was valued more than gold.
- Silver gained its popularity when Europeans landed in the New World in 1492.
- Improper silver storage can lead to tarnishing.
- There are several different types of silver used in making jewelry. Here are the most common:
- Fine Silver: You can’t make silver jewelry with 100% pure silver, because it’s not durable enough to withstand wear and tear. Fine silver is the closest you can get to pure silver in jewelry; it’s typically only recommended for use in earrings or other pieces of jewelry that aren’t likely to be easily damaged.
- Sterling Silver: The most popular and famous silver alloy used in jewelry, sterling silver is durable and typically hypoallergenic, but tarnishes easily.
- Argentium Silver: A more modern version of sterling silver, Argentium silver is both durable and resists tarnish better than sterling silver. It’s alloyed with copper and germanium.
- Nickel Silver: This inexpensive type of silver isn’t actually silver at all — it’s comprised of copper, nickel, and zinc. It’s called silver because of its color. It’s good for costume jewelry, but is not hypoallergenic — people with nickel allergies might react to this type of “silver.”
- Silver Plated: This alloyed metal has a thin coating of silver, making it good for costume jewelry like nickel silver — but not for a long-wearing piece of jewelry. It’s also not hypoallergenic.
Silver vs. Gold
We’re big believers in doing and wearing what makes you happy, but some people do wonder if they should buy silver jewelry or gold jewelry. Traditionally, the color of what jewelry to wear was determined by the color of a person’s skin: people with warmer-colored skin wore gold metals, while people with cooler-colored skin wore silver. These days, people tend to wear what they want and already have a preference when it comes to silver versus gold jewelry. If you’re budget-conscious, silver may be a wiser choice — it’s much less expensive than gold. Gold does tend to be more durable and is considered a much more precious metal, so if you’re looking to make an investment when buying jewelry (think: family heirloom), gold might be the better choice.
Caring for Silver Jewelry
Because sterling silver (the most common type of jewelry silver) is an alloyed metal, it’s subject to tarnishing. While unsightly, you don’t have to throw your jewelry in the trash if it’s tarnished! Tarnish is the result of a chemical reaction with sulfur or oxygen in the air. Proper care can help prevent tarnishing.
- Wear your jewelry often: Your skin’s natural oils will help prevent tarnishing.
- Remove your jewelry during certain activities: Take your jewelry off — especially your rings — while doing household chores, gardening, swimming, or cooking.
- Put jewelry on last: Remove your jewelry while showering, and make sure it’s the last thing you put back on after getting ready. Lotions, makeup, and hair products can make your jewelry tarnish faster.
If your jewelry does tarnish, not to fear — there are several ways to help get it looking like new again.
- Soap and water
- Baking soda and water
- Baking soda and white vinegar
- Sterling silver polish
Properly storing sterling silver jewelry can go a long way in protecting it from tarnish. Here are some tips for storing your silver rings and other jewelry pieces:
- Keep it in a cool, dark place, in an air-tight container.
- Store your jewelry individually — no mixing it up with other items.
- Don’t store it in cardboard, paper, or cotton.
- Store silver jewelry with chalk — the chalk will absorb moisture and help prevent tarnishing.
- Use silica packs.
- Line jewelry boxes with anti-tarnish cloths.
Zillion: Insurance for Silver Jewelry
Whether you need insurance coverage for a sparkling gold diamond engagement ring or a pair of sterling silver earrings, Zillion’s jewelry insurance is comprehensive, affordable, and covers your jewelry in the event of theft, accidental damage, loss, and natural disasters. When you purchase a jewelry insurance policy with Zillion, you do more than just wear your trendy jewelry — you wear it with confidence.