The Various Uses of Silver Series – Jewellery.

Video transcript:

Today is Monday 19th December 2016 and we are beginning a new series called “The Various Uses of Silver”, where we shall discuss in a little more depth than usual what we hope you will find as an interesting commentary on silver.

We shall publish one of these each week for at least the next 6 weeks and possibly longer covering silver’s different usages. Today we are going to focus on Jewellery.

Silver, commonly known as the white metal, has an illustrious reputation for its use in jewellery.

Its high lustre and reflectivity makes it perfect for jewellery, silverware, and mirrors.

Jewellers, both professional and amateur, have used just about every type of metal in existence. While fashion trends using unique and trendy metals come and go, three jewellery metals have stood the test of time and continue to have a strong presence in modern jewellery. They are: Gold, Silver, and Platinum.

These three metals and the alloys that utilize them are referred to as the ‘Noble Metals’. Noble Metals have four properties in common:

1. They are precious metals and are also used as currency (a store of value) because of their intrinsic value.
2. They are found worldwide, but not in large enough quantities to render them less valuable.
3. Their properties including malleability and corrosion resistance, lend themselves to jewellery making.
4. These metals are considered beautiful, sensuous, and glamorous, which increases their appeal.

Jewellery is one of the more traditional uses of silver. Malleability, reflectivity, and lustre make silver a favourable choice; because it is less expensive than gold and platinum.

According to the Silver Institute, in 2015 some 226.5 million oz of silver was demanded for jewellery purposes - which represents a little over 19% of total physical demand for that year.

The Institute also reported:

“Globally, silver jewelry fabrication increased for the third consecutive year to post a fresh high at 226.5 Moz. This increase was largely achieved on the back of an impressive 16 percent rise from both India and Thailand, while North America posted a 5 percent annual increase.”

Many people of various cultures wear jewellery on a daily basis and some jewellery can carry significant meaning, e.g. if it is an heirloom passed on within the family. While we often think of women wearing jewellery, it is also common for men to wear rings and bracelets and throughout history; these have been worn by people of different civilisations.

There is also a spiritual content to the wearing of jewellery. Those who follow spiritual science believe that jewellery worn above the waist should be gold to protect from stronger negative energies (such as ghosts, devils, demons etc.). The gold augments the Absolute Fire Principle that enables the chakras above the waist to absorb positive energies.

Whereas Jewellery worn below the waist should be silver, to protect from lower level negative energies (ghosts, devils, demons etc.). Silver has the ability to imbibe the Raja–predominant waves of desire.

Silver’s most outstanding feature is its lustre. This Noble Metal has drawbacks though. The main drawback for silver is that it tarnishes. The term tarnish is used to denote a layer of corrosion that forms over some metals, including silver, when they undergo chemical reactions. The chemical reaction that causes silver to tarnish requires a compound called hydrogen sulphide. Silver jewellery encounters hydrogen sulphide in the air you breathe every day, which is why silver tends to tarnish if left out where it is exposed to this compound on a regular basis.

Storing these items in protective pouches or containers where they are exposed to less hydrogen sulphide reduces the amount of tarnish on silver. There are a number of ways to remove tarnish from silver pieces, including silver polish and do-it-yourself methods using common household items, so you do not have to shy away from silver pieces because of the tarnish. Silver jewellery does require more care than some other precious metals, because of this however.

Silver is more abundant and much less expensive than gold or platinum, which are additional reasons why it is popular as a metal for jewellery; however, it is more difficult to work than gold, because it conducts heat so well. This is why new jewellery makers often learn how to solder on silver.
Once they gain control of soldering on this highly conductive metal, they find it much easier to control the heat when moving up to gold.

Silver is also commonly alloyed with other metals because, like gold, pure silver is soft and easily damaged. Adding harder metals improves the durability of silver, allowing jewellery designers to design pieces that are beautiful and strong enough to wear every day. The most common silver alloy is sterling silver which is 92.5% silver. The remaining 7.5% is comprised of one or more other metals. A substantial portion of this 7.5% is often copper because it increases the hardness of the sterling silver.

Britannia silver contains a minimum of 95.84% silver, making it a more valuable alloy than sterling silver. While this may be used in jewellery, it is not common. There are a variety of additional silver alloys used worldwide, including a South American alloy made of 80% silver that does not tarnish and alloys such as electrum and Niello which were popular with the ancient Egyptians.

Jewellery makers stamp silver pieces with the code that denotes which alloy of silver it is. For example, 925 is used to designate sterling silver and 958 is used for Britannia silver. When shopping for silver jewellery we advise that you inspect the piece carefully to determine which alloy was used.

While all of these silver alloys actually contain at least some silver, some metal names can mislead you into thinking the metal contains silver. Nickel silver or German silver, for example, are alloys of nickel, zinc, and other metals. These metals look like silver, hence the name, but they do not actually contain any silver and are commonly found on sites such as EBay for example. The same is true of quicksilver, which is the ancient term given to mercury due to its appearance. While mercury does resemble liquid silver, it does not contain silver and is not seen in jewellery because it is harmful to your health.

So that concludes our commentary on the use of Silver for jewellery. We hope it was useful and next week we shall publish the next in our series – Uses of Silver in Medicines.

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Illuminati Silver owners come from a background of Banking, International Wealth Management and Economics. Having now retired from these worlds we are not qualified to give investment advice. Therefore, this and other productions must not be deemed to be giving such advice and merely represent the personal views of its owners.