Silver, the mystique white metal, unlike others are one favorite till the day. Even when the hardest competitor gold faced a nose fall in the market, silver survived it due to its versatile use in the market. As a jewelry, semiconductor, biocompatible metal, in industries, machines and you say it, everywhere there is some silver for name sake. The earliest usage rooted back around 3100 BC in the ancient Egypt. Till the day silver and gold compete shoulder to shoulder to defeat the never ending market scope. Today, the world market accounts billions worth silver trade a year. Silver is one important commodity in the stock market, as equally important as other precious metals like gold and platinum. Silver jewelryis most important commercial form, which has recently improved its online market with the introduction new tarnish free alloy forms.
Silver as an element
Like all other metals, silver is a naturally occurring metal mined from the earth crust. It is chemically named as ‘Argentum’ denoted by symbol ‘Ag’. Though not very rare, silver is still considered as a precious metal due to its difficulty in the excavation. In its natural form silver is very brittle and soft, thus it cannot be used for human application. For practical application, a silver alloy called as sterling silver is used. It is made sturdy and hard alloying with copper. The commercially standard jewelry silver is 92.5 percent pure, which means 925 parts are pure silver and rest 7.5% or 75 parts are copper.
The major application is found with sterling silver jewelry, apart from that, it is used in cookware, as an electrical conductor, in semiconductors, giftware, hollowware, in the medical field etc. The uses are numerous, of which one important application is found with the use of silver in making coin. Some countries use silver coins made with 90% pure silver and 10% other alloy metals. Silver is also used to electroplate other metals due to its oxidizing property.
The Oxidizing Silver
Silver over time will form an oxide coating on reacting with oxygen from air, which forms a hard coat of shield from external environment thereby preventing corrosion. This one property is very useful in industrial as well as jewelry application. Nowadays you can find silver oxidized jewelry that has an extended life of application than normal.
Apart from oxidized silver, gold plated silver are also available, whose inert gold covering prevents it from corrosion. Moreover, the gold plated silver has an enhanced value in the market mainly in the jewelry.
How to buy silver jewelry
While buying silver jewelry, make sure that it is a 925 or 92.5 sterling silver. If not it implies they may not be what you are looking for with a silver wear. Sterling certification varies over the country, in India silver is hallmarked by BIS organization. So make sure that there is one valid certification with silver you buy. If you are fond of silver property yet need a cheaper jewelry, try silver plated ornaments which are basically bronze or stainless steel coated with silver, that ensures an extend life.