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Sterling silver is an affordable metal that has been used since ancient times to make jewelry and household items. Sterling silver is a versatile metal that is known for its beauty and durability. In fact, if cared for properly sterling silver items can last a lifetime.

Many experts agree that silver jewelry is an interesting balance of beautiful and practical. This is because jewelry is nay made from pure silver. This is because pure silver is too soft to be an effective metal to wear. To get around this pure silver is combined with alloys to add strength and affordability to the precious metal.

Copper is the alloy used most frequently to add durability to silver. Copper not only strengthens the metal but it does not affect its spectacular color. In addition other metals may be added to help reduce the risk of tarnish. This combination is what differentiates pure silver from sterling silver.

Jewelry made from sterling silver is very popular. It is versatile, beautiful, and affordable. It is also easy to distinguish quality pieces. It is so popular because of its affordability and beauty. It can be buffed to a higher polish than any other metal.

Adding copper to pure silver greatly reduces its price, but is not the only factor in the value of the metal. Sterling silver pieces are priced based on the amount of labor and time it took to create the item. The skill of the craftsman, the intricacy of the design, and the uniqueness of the piece all contribute to the price of sterling silver jewelry as well.

In the United States there are rules stipulating that in order for a piece to be described and sold as sterling silver jewelry it must be at least 92.5 percent pure silver. The Federal Trade Commission regulates that silver items must be stamped with a quality or fineness mark accompanied by the makers registered trademark.

In 2003, sterling silver began being produced with platinum making up the other 7.5 percent of its materials instead of copper. These platinum blends make the jewelry more durable than copper. In addition, platinum does not discolor or tarnish like copper does. Platinum enhanced sterling silver is not yet as popular as the copper blends. This is partially due to the higher price tag for the platinum sterling blends.

Sterling silver jewelry can last forever if cared for properly. The pieces should be stored in a cloth pouch or separate compartment of your jewelry box. They should also be cleaned regularly. You should also avoid exposing your silver jewelry to household cleaners, such as bleach, that may damage your silver.

Also, keep in mind that wearing your silver jewelry regularly can help reduce tarnish and keep your pieces bright. If your silver jewelry does develop tarnish it should be removed as soon as you see it. This is when its easiest to remove and has not set in permanently.

Another common use of this versatile metal is to make tableware. This includes utensils, silver trays and coffee and tea service sets. In fact it is estimated that thirty percent of all silver is used to make jewelry or silverware. Thirty-nine percent of silver is put towards industrial uses, twenty four percent is used for photography and the remaining seven percent makes coins and other items.

Sterling silver is also widely used in decorative work. This is because it has an incredible long shelf life and is extremely affordable.

As you can see, sterling silver has a wide variety of uses and because it is not sold as a pure metal it is very affordable.

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