When buying silver jewelry it would be a good idea to know all the different types of silver that exist, and which one of them would be best to have as jewelry. Just like all the other precious metals, silver comes in a wide variety of alloys which are not all of the same quality, and they will not all serve you the same way. Knowing as much as you can about different flavors that silver can come in, might just save you from buying something that you don’t want, something which will fail you shortly after purchase.
We’ll start off with the most popular type of silver, sterling silver. This silver is of decent quality, but due to the fact that it contains some amount of base metals, sterling silver is susceptible to tarnishing if not handled properly. Moisture, humidity and pollutants from the atmosphere are capable of making serious damaged, not to silver, which is very resistant to these things, but copper that sterling silver usually contains is problematic, and given enough time it will fail on you, and cause sterling silver jewelery to show signs of tarnish.
Similar to sterling silver, in fact a little bit better than sterling silver would be French silver. This silver is better because unlike sterling silver it contains more silver, Sterling silver is 92.5% silver, while French silver is 93.5%. It’s just 1% more, but it’s enough to give it a small advantage over sterling silver, and also a bit higher price.
German silver is an alloy that contains three metals. All of the previously mentioned only have two metals in them, and not just them, pretty much all of them consist of only two metals. Copper, zinc and nickle are used. Be careful with German silver, if you have allergies, nickle in it can cause you a lot of problems, since nickle is one of the most allergenic metals in existence. Quality of German silver isn’t particularly good, and it’s usually not used alone, for the most part it’s used as a base metal for electroplating.
Next to these European silver alloys, there’s also a lot of other silver from all over the world. Two interesting silver from Asia would the Tibetan silver and Thai silver. Thai silver is peculiar because it comes in black color, which is caused by various impurities that are added to it. Tibetan silver is of poorer quality, which is no surprise because it only contains 30% silver, while the rest is copper. Think of it as very impoverished sterling silver, because of which it is cheaper, but it also a lot more susceptible to tarnish.
The ultimate choice when it comes to silver alloys would without a doubt be argentium silver, which is alloy of silver and germanium. When compered to previously mentioned silver, argentium silver shows much better characteristics, it’s highly resistant to tarnish and it’s hypoallergenic, which means that it will not cause allergies as much as others will. If you want to use silver, then definitely go with argentium silver.