Silver lies between copper and gold and is one of the softest metals.. Pure silver is a white metal which acquires a magnificent lustre after polishing. The colour is affected by the atmosphere which gives a thin layer of silver oxide. Silver smell, silver taste, and the tarnishing of silver by which a visible discolouration takes place, are caused by sulphur compounds. A fair amount of silver is produced in Europe and it is malleable and is harder than gold, but softer than copper, with which it is frequently mixed to form a suitable alloy. Mexico is the leading silver producing nation in the world. The Mexican silver industry was highlighted in the Art Deco era via the talents of an American, William Spratling, who settled in Taxco in 1929, where he opened a shop dealing in traditional crafts as well as opening a school where he trained the natives to work with silver. Spratling produced some stunning brooches, bracelets and earrings, mostly in silver and set with amethysts. Silver has been treasured since ancient times and is called a precious metal. In 1880 silver jewellery became popular, particularly in favour were heavy necklaces with large lockets in which there was usually room for hair. This fashion was also usual with machine-made silver brooches! The main uses of silver have been for coins and jewellery. Metals can be arranged in a list called the reactivity series and silver is near the bottom because it is only very slightly reactive. The chemical symbol for silver is Ag which means white an shining.
Silver has long been used as a means of decorating both home and the individual. Pure silver jewellery is prone to tarnish and because of its soft nature, often loses its shape or easily damages. Sterling silver was therefore introduced. Sterling is 9.25% pure silver and is mixed with other metal such as copper and zinc. Sterling silver is harder and less prone to tarnish.
Silver jewellery needs to be looked after It needs to be polished regularly using a non-abrasive cloth. Soap and water also help to keep it looking good and it should be dried with a soft cloth and not with paper towels. When not wearing your silver jewellery, it should be stored in a cool, dry place. When wearing silver jewellry, particularly rings and bangles, never immerse hands in chlorine, salty water etc as well as avoid abrasive cleaners and detergents.
Silver jewellery happens to be very easy to make as well especially if one takes a silver-smithing class first. Cut the silver sheet to size and shape your silver using pliers and jig. Also shape other additional metals to add. Heat the solder and apply to any jewels or other metals to be attached to the jewellery piece. Place jewellery in warm pickling component to remove waste materials and then place jewellery in water to cool.
Jewels are showpieces, and silver jewelery in the form of rings, bracelets and necklaces, has a place in adorning and beautifying the body!