Silver jewellery has always been a popular choice of women for all the good reasons – it is inexpensive, durable, easily available, easier to maintain, and available in a huge variety of styles and designs. All these factors have created a high demand for silver jewellery all over the world. This, in turn, has paved the way for a large number of sellers. However, just like any other industry, not all sellers of silver jewellery offer high-quality pieces. To avoid buying poor quality silver jewellery, you need to educate yourself a bit and know what to look for when buying silver jewellery.
Which is more fun, getting a root canal, paying your taxes, or selling your jewellery? And how to buy silver jewellery? Not much of a choice, but the following is some knowledge that can take the frustration out of selling your jewellery. And answer the hard questions like Will I receive a fair price for my jewellery? Or did I pay too much?
The two critical areas of knowledge to get the best price for your jewellery are the factors that determine the value of estate jewellery and the options to liquidating it. Does this mean you have to become a gemologist just to sell your jewellery? No. But some homework and note taking can mean a much higher price paid for your jewellery. Let’s start with what determines the value of estate jewellery.
Estate is a general term used to describe previously owned. That fact is one of the determining factors. Preowned jewellery by in large is not as valuable as new. Some people will never buy a previously owned engagement set for superstitious reasons. I have had clients who could have saved hundreds of dollars if they would have bought a preowned ring but refused.
Jewellery is a style-driven industry. Some styles are classic and stay around for decades, others last just a few months. Estate jewellery that is out of style can’t command a premium price. In fact, some styles are so out of favour that the jewellery’s only value is its intrinsic worth. The other extreme is that the jewellery could be antique. Antique jewellery is highly collectible and may require a specialty option to sell. Knowing if your jewellery is just old and out of style or an antique can mean the difference of hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.
What type of silver should I buy?
There are many varieties of silver on the market. Of these, sterling silver, pure silver and silver plate are the most commonly known and used.
99.9 Silver (99.9% Pure!)
Let’s start with the purest form of silver. Fine .999 silver jewellery is the closest you’ll get to pure silver. It’s called .999 silver because it’s technically 99.9% pure silver!
This type of silver is the highest quality silver you can buy. If you compare .999 pieces to more affordable silver, you’ll notice a stark difference in shine and lustre.
The only problem with 99.9% pure silver is its softness. Since it’s the softest silver of the bunch, it’s more vulnerable to scratches and imperfections. It’s the shiniest silver, but it’s not the best choice for long-lasting jewellery.
Sterling silver is an alloy composed of 92.5% of silver and 7.5% of some other metal, commonly copper or nickel. These metals bring strength, durability and an extra lustre to the silver. This composition makes for a stronger variety of silver, which is the quality standard jewellery. This is an established silver standard, having originated in around 1300. The standard for sterling silver was popularized by Tiffany and Co. in America as they used this for their jewellery.
Genuine sterling silver should have a hallmark that identifies it as such. There are several versions of sterling silver hallmark. You may see .925 stamped on the silver. Alternately look for the words STER, STERLING, STG or Sterling Silver. If the silver has the number 800 stamped on it, it could very well be of European origin.
Fine silver is the variety that is close to pure silver. It is 99.9% silver and is identified by the hallmark .999. The other .1% is made up of slight trace elements that are not of significant quantity.
However, although it may seem that purer silver is better, in reality, it is much too soft to be used in jewellery. It is easily damaged and malleable, and loses shape over time. Fine silver is suitable for jewellery items such as earrings and pendants rather than items that will be exposed to rough wear.
If you are familiar with gold plates, you will notice that silver plate is the same thing. It is essentially a thin layer of silver-coated over another base metal, usually copper. As you can imagine, the silver plate has much less silver than fine silver and sterling silver. It is not valuable as those other forms and over time, the plating can discolour and flake off.
There are other forms of silver on the market such as Britannia silver, coin silver, German silver, nickel silver, tribal silver and Mexican silver. These all vary in how much silver they contain.
How to Buy Silver Jewellery?
If you’re looking for a particular type of silver jewellery, research is essential. Compare different silver jewellery sources for price, quality, and style. You’ll notice that most online jewellers include the type of silver on the product page.
Since sterling silver and Argentium look so similar, you may need to talk to an expert if the silver type isn’t mentioned on the product page. Often, jewellery is just labelled as “silver,” so you may need to inquire further about the exact type.
Know the Difference between Pure Silver, Silver Plated & Sterling Silver Jewelry
Different types of silver have varying characteristics. Knowing the difference between them will help you make an informed decision as to what type of silver jewellery best suits your needs and lifestyle. Silver-plated jewellery is the least pure of all types and is created by covering metals like copper or brass with a thin layer of silver. Pure or fine silver, on the other hand, is 99.9 pure, but this variety of silver is very delicate and cannot be moulded into jewellery as it can get a dent. Sterling silver is 92.5% silver and is considered the best for making silver jewellery. Most high-quality silver jewellery is made from sterling silver. It’s also the most durable of all types of silver.
Does Not Cause Skin Irritation
Those who are allergic to metal find it hard times in choosing the right jewellery. Sterling silver jewellery does not cause any skin irritation or allergy. Nickel is responsible for metal allergy on the skin. This nickel is hardly used in sterling silver alloys. Commonly used alloys with sterling silver are copper & zinc which is absolutely safe. Before buying, make sure to check with your jeweller what metal alloy they are using with sterling silver jewellery to avoid any irritation on the skin.
Sterling silver should be stamped with .925 or 925, meaning it’s 92.5% pure silver. Anything with less silver content than that may not keep its original colour.
If no stamp is visible, be sure you trust the jeweller from whom you are buying; otherwise, look elsewhere.
Before buying silver, you should take the time to look for visible imperfections.
Check the strength of clasps and earring posts. Make sure chain link bracelets and necklaces have no kinks and will not kink easily.
Look For the Mark
When buying sterling silver jewellery, always look for the.925 or STERLING stamp as it is the sign of authentic sterling silver. Do not buy a silver sterling jewellery piece that doesn’t have the 925 stamps, unless you trust the seller. Some authentic sterling silver pieces may not carry the mark, but you cannot let a seller use them to fool you into buying fake silver jewellery. The mark won’t be easily visible but look on the inner side of a ring or the clasp of a necklace to spot it. An important thing to note here is that other varieties of sterling silver are also available, with less silver content. However, 925 sterling silver is the best, so do not go for any other variety.
Suitable For All Skin Tone
Those with neutral & cool skin tones find sterling silver jewellery suitable for them while gold jewellery suits are best for those with olive & warm skin tones. But there is no such specification; anyone can wear it as it suits all skin tones.
Ensure the Reliability of the Seller
Instead of buying from the first store, you come across, take your time to do research and find a reliable silver jewellery seller. Ask around for referrals. Ensuring the reliability of the seller is more important when you’re buying silver jewellery online because of the inability to physically inspect and test the metal. Unfortunately, the online world is filled with scammers, and many people are selling fake jewellery in the name of silver. Always check user reviews and ask the seller if they provide any guarantee for the authenticity of their products.
Silver jewellery is sold in jewellery stores, booths, department stores, and by independent jewellery designers. Purchases can be made online as well.
- You can order custom-made pieces that include personalized designs or you can choose from any readily available collection.
- Before making any purchases, ask about the return policy to ensure you can receive your money back if anything should go wrong.
- If you’re buying silver jewellery online, it may be helpful to research the website selling it to be sure the dealer is a reputable one.
- You should also make sure the website is secure before you enter any credit card information.
Shop for Interchangeable Pieces
If you’re on a budget, you can shop for interchangeable silver jewellery. You won’t have to spend too much on many different individual pieces, but you will look as though you did.
You may consider buying a single silver necklace and multiple pendants that you could switch up each day as opposed to buying multiple necklaces with charms.
You can buy stacking rings that you can wear individually on all different fingers or you can stack them together to achieve the look of one oversized statement piece.
A bracelet with open links can be used with detachable charms, allowing you to wear it alone or with any different combination of charms to accomplish your desired look for the day.
Purchasing these types of interchangeable pieces will save you money and increase the versatility of your silver collection.
Ideal For Any Event
Sterling silver jewellery is available in a wide variety of styles. If you are a maximalist or a minimalist, a modern woman or loves vintage style jewellery, silver jewellery for every taste is available. It is an incredibly versatile metal that suits any occasion or event.
FAQs About Buying Silver Jewellery
Determining Quality. Sterling silver should be stamped with. 925 or 925, meaning it's 92.5% pure silver. Anything with less silver content than that may not keep its original colour.
Sterling silver is a great option because it's durable and long-lasting, so it's good for rings, necklaces, bracelets, cuff links, belt buckles, body jewellery, you get the picture. But keep in mind that silver jewellery is softer than gold, platinum and titanium, and it's likely to tarnish without proper care.
What Is 925 Sterling Silver? 925 Sterling silver contains 92.5% pure silver which is mixed with some sort of alloy material such as copper. Because silver is a soft metal, this coating can be scratched off and tarnished easily, eventually exposing the metal or alloy underneath when the coating is removed.
One of the main dangers of silver investment is that the price is uncertain. The value of silver depends on the demand for it. Susceptible to technology shifts: Any other metal can replace it for its manufacturing reasons or something in the silver market.
Tips on Silver Care
Silver can tarnish. Once you find and purchase the pieces you love, be sure to have a good silver jewellery cleaner on hand to keep your pieces looking beautiful.
You may also consider storing them in a small anti-tarnish bag so you can make your favourite purchases last.
Every coin has two sides & this is certainly not an exception with sterling silver jewellery. Being the most versatile & affordable metal, it has a drawback. The most common problem with sterling silver jewellery is, it tarnishes with time despite price or quality. You cannot prevent it from getting tarnished but you can slow down the process. Here are the things that you can do to prevent it:
- Storage: You need to store your jewellery properly so that it is not exposed to air. Keep your sterling silver jewellery in airtight bags. You can add anti-tarnish strips to your airtight bag which prevents tarnishing. To prevent moisture from the air, including silica gel or a piece of chalk in the bag or container where you will keep the jewellery. When you buy sterling silver jewellery, make sure that you preserve your most precious jewellery properly. Store your jewellery in an original jewellery box or you can also store it in a Mylar ziplock bag or in a polyethylene bag. Never leave your sterling silver jewellery exposed to sunlight or store it in a damp environment. It can lead to corrosion, tarnishing & discolouration.
- Away from chemicals & exposure: after you wear sterling silver jewellery, remember to clean it properly before you put it back in the bag or container. It’s highly recommended that you must remove your jewellery before taking a shower or going swimming. Keep away sterling silver jewellery from body fluids, household chemicals. Never, bring it in contact with lotions, makeup or any cosmetics. Make sure to wear your silver jewellery when you are completely done.
- Maintenance: When it comes to washing sterling silver jewellery, you can use warm water & mild soap to wash it gently. Pat dry with a soft cotton cloth for removing spots of water carefully & store it carefully. Polishing silver jewellery is a great option to prevent it from getting tarnished.
When you take proper care of your sterling silver jewellery, it is sure to last long. A wide range of sterling silver jewellery of contemporary designs is widely available in the market. Let the most exclusive piece adorn you. So, what are you waiting for? You can buy online also. Take a look at the huge collection & get it delivered to your doorstep. But it is best to buy it from a showroom.