Silver is in strong demand as jewelry due to being the most lustrous white metal, being rare, and it’s inexpensive price compared with gold. With the rise in the gold price in the last 15 years, the demand for silver has only grown as consumers look for an elegant substitute. Sometimes sterling silver is plated, or gilded, with gold.
In the United States and Britain, sterling silver is the most common standard for silver jewelry. Sterling silver is composed of 92.5 percent silver and 7.5 percent copper, to add durability. Pure silver is a delicate metal that is easily dented and tarnished, hence it is alloyed with other metals for strength. Oftentimes, and especially with jewelry, sterling silver made in the United States is marked with .925 or 925, indicating that it is 925 parts per thousand silver. Sometimes sterling silver made in the United States is marked with the word “sterling.” Sometimes, though less commonly, there is no mark at all.
Unlike gold, silver tarnishes, but tarnish can be removed to preserve the special white sheen of the metal with a quality polish, often in the form of a special cloth with tiny abrasives that can be purchased online or in a local retail store. Though silver may tarnish, its luster is superior that of any other white metal, including platinum, which does not tarnish.
Because silver is less expensive than gold, and has been historically, it has been used even more than gold as money. Silver is thus the precious metal of the people and not just of elites, and adds a special elegance or flair when present.