Posted by Ron Hansen on May 13, 2016
While our parents may still wear classic yellow gold rings, bracelets and necklaces, "white" silvery metals have been in vogue for over a decade and don't seem to be losing much of their competitive luster against their yellow counter parts. Though yellow gold has been around since pre-Biblical times and will never be outmoded, white metals like platinum, white gold, and silver continue to hold their popularity among jewelry buyers, especially in the US. Silver, in particular, has maintained its dominance in jewelry, and we'll explore why.
Since Medieval times, price has been a major advantage of silver relative to other precious metals. Even when we watched most precious metal prices blast through their all time highs of 1980 just five years ago, silver prices remained disproportionately lower. Though silver prices trended upwards with other metals, they never exceeded their prior highs, as did gold and platinum. With all precious metal prices having declined since then, silver remains the leader in mid-priced jewelry and can be found among the loftiest brands such as Tiffany and Cartier.
And it's not just price affordability that makes silver the popular choice of many jewelry buyers. Silver has a brilliant metallic luster that has attracted people to it for over 5,000 years. In just 2014, over 215 million ounces were used exclusively in jewelry production, aside from its many industrial applications. In addition to its natural beauty, it is resilient, long lasting, and versatile in its many jewelry applications.
A natural element abundant in the earth, silver is both strong and malleable. Though harder than gold, pure silver, 99.9% in fineness, is softer than copper. Like other precious metals, it's usually combined with another alloy for greater hardness and durability, like copper, nickel or zinc. When an alloy like copper is added to it in a 7.5% proportion, the combined metal is referred to as sterling silver. When germanium is added to silver in the same proportion, the metal is called argentium silver. There are slight differences in sterling and argentium, which are described in our post, "What is Argentium Silver?" from August 24, 2015, but both variations of silver produce extraordinarily beautiful and long-lasting jewelry pieces.
If you're a shopper of fine, affordable silver jewelry, visit our silver collection here.