Silver has been considered a valuable metal since it was discovered a long time ago, in approximately 4000 BC in Turkey. This metal, known for its shiny â€œsilverâ€ quality, was considered by the Ancients as a sacred metal, and its use was extremely restricted. Later, it would be used in wealthy houses as part of the utensils, representing elegance and power.
For many growing cultures, silver was the main source of trading. Throughout the passing years, mines expanded in China, Greece and southern Spain. Its popularity grew throughout the world once it was discovered in North and South America. Mexico and Peru are considered the largest producers of silver in the Western hemisphere, followed by the USA, Canada and Bolivia and by Australia in the Eastern hemisphere.
Silver is known to enhance the beauty of other precious stones such as diamonds, especially when used in designs creating rings and necklaces. Besides its non-toxic elements, malleability and ductility, the popularity of silver jewelry has sky-rocketed. Today jewelry stores offer silver in a variety of different styles and textures.
Silver jewelry constitutes a considerable market where designers have to be more creative in the manufacture of stunning silver pieces, using colored gemstones and other precious stones.
Usually silver jewelry is polished and reflects the light beautifully; however, there are many varieties of different finishes such as rhodium. It is also sold in a duller matte finish or a combination of polished and matte finishes.
When purchasing sterling silver, it is recommended to look for the stamp "925" which indicates that the piece contains almost 93% silver, the other 7% being composed of either copper, zinc, or nickel. These components make silver hard and durable; without these alloys, the piece would be too soft to wear. One of the main drawbacks to silver jewelry is its tendency to tarnish. This is caused by the reaction between the impurities in the silver and the air; however, jewelers have developed polishes and other remedies to keep silver looking its best and maintaining its beauty.
Sterling silver is particularly appropriate for daytime wear or for casual sportswear. While this type of silver jewelry is highly fashionable for the winter, worn with black, navy and dark colors, it also looks "cool" in the summer when worn with pastels and lightweight clothing, making a contrast with bare skin. It is safe to say that silver jewelry has a unique quality that allows it to remain current and fashionable, creating a big market for designers and consumers of all different tastes.