Sterling Silver Jewelry - Hot and Trendy
Sterling silver which is also recognized as Standard silver is the popular choice for jewelry due to its flexibility and ductility allowing for its ability to remain pliant, free of fracture. Pure silver is very soft and easily marred making it a poor choice for jewelry. Sterling silver is an alloy consisting of 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% copper often referred to as millesimal fineness. Jewelry with these components is often marked with the quality marks, sterling silver, silver, ster or .925 verifying its authenticity. In some countries jewelry with this metal must undergo government submitted testing before it can be stamped and placed on the market. Nitric acid is used for testing, after a drop is applied to the silver if it becomes a creamy color it passes the standard as sterling silver.
Since, silver oxidizes with age, there is a method known as rhodium plating which can improve its durability, protecting it from scratches and adding a tarnish resistant finish. Rhodium is a nickel free member of the platinum family discovered by William Wollaston in 1803. It is a hard metal with a metallic, reflective, white color. A thin coating of rhodium is added to the surface of the silver through the process of electroplating or electrodeposition. Not only does it give the silver an impervious shield against the skins natural oils and incidental chemicals, but it enhances the quality and appearance of the completed product.
A product whose elegant sheen, affordability as the most inexpensive precious metal and versatility, perfect for casual day wear or an evening extravaganza, make it a highly sought after adornment.
Celebrities can be influential in jewelry styles and the fashionable trends of the day. Some of the popular sterling silver pieces worn today en masse have been seen on Hollywood’s elite stars. The angel wing necklace in a cubic zirconium pave setting is a detailed contemporary delight with a vintage feel and broad appeal among the A-lister’s. The horseshoe necklace embellished with CZ’s (cubic zirconium) is a must have among the stars. Chandelier, dangling earrings with diamonds have been spotted more than once on the red carpet. The circle pendant with diamonds or CZ’s is a stylish favorite among the younger Hollywood crowd. The snake bracelet with inlaid CZ’s is the “now” item with youthful starlets.
Even the world of hip hop has influenced the jewelry trade. Hip hop pendants can be found in different styles of silver rhodium from stunning crosses and fleur de lis to sport and money insignias.
The silver belly button ring, the silver ball picture pendant, toe rings which can be braided, dotted or basket woven silver and dog tags, religious, inscribed, plain ID or medical on a leather necklace or satin cord are some of the more unusual accessories worn presently.
Sterling silver can be striking with gemstones particularly turquoise, murano glass and Swarovski crystals. It is interesting to note how the past and present can converge so intrinsically. Many of the silver pieces we enjoy wearing today have a historic foundation. Hammered jewelry is a prime example, the artisans of old would arduously hammer out a creation of raw silver by hand. Now machines carry out this painstaking task that inspired rings, earrings and pendants. Cuff bracelets were originally a learned practice of the Navajo Indians in the 1850’s, taught to them by Spanish silversmiths. Chainmail chains, the linking together of small metal loops to form a mesh design for bracelets and necklaces can be traced to garments for protection in medieval times. Vintage filigree slide pendants, intricate, textured rings and bracelets are beauteously engraved jewelry we can wear and admire due to the fastidious workers who honed this craft over 1500 years ago. Intertwined threads of silver were stitched or soldered together to make these lacy motifs. Although, technology makes the production more simplistic, it is because of these diligent, gifted craftsmen that we are able to be dressed with these fine, decorative fashion statements.
One other trend which began during the Victorian era in England we still appreciate is Victorian cake pulls. Satin ribbons were tied to sterling silver charms and concealed in the lower layer of a wedding cake. The ribbon remained visible so the bridesmaids could pull out the charms before the cake cutting ceremony. This fun tradition is now held during wedding showers, bridal luncheons, baby showers or children’s tea parties. Whether an artistic invention from the past or the current fad, sterling silver jewelry will always be prized for its distinctive flare and whimsical creativity.