Silver is a beautiful metal. Its looks, feel and sheen can enhance even the most glamorous wearer, but what do we know about it, and do we know how to make it look great at all times?
Silver naturally occurs in the earth’s crust and is usually found along with copper, gold, lead or zinc. As far as we can tell, it has been mined and treasured since around 4,000 BC. It has the chemical symbol Ag from the Latin word Argentium, meaning white and shiny.
Pure silver — i.e. better than 99.9% purity — is structurally weak, soft and is not good for making jewellery. To make it stronger we add other metals, mostly copper, until it becomes suitable for making jewellery. Thus, the international standard of sterling silver, or 925 silver, was derived. As the name suggests, 925 silver is 92.5% pure silver.
Most jewellers use this 925 sterling silver and Footprints and Whispers only provide jewellery to this standard for their memorial jewellery. There are many other lesser mixtures sold on the open market right down to base metals coated in silver, otherwise known as ‘silver-plated’.
Silver of all grades needs a little TLC if it is to look its very best, and there may be a couple of issues for some wearers.
Firstly, it is a reactive metal and is not hypoallergenic, meaning a very small percentage of people are allergic to it. In fact, the very few people who appear allergic are likely to be reacting to the very small traces of nickel in 925 silver.
Sometimes this allergy can begin to show years after wearing a treasured piece of silver jewellery. So, for this very small group of people we recommend that you look at Footprints and Whispers sensational titanium or zirconium memorial jewellery, which is 100% hypoallergenic.