Friday, November 2, 2007

What you need to know when buying sterling silver jewelry.

Sterling silver jewelry is very popular right now, so there are a lot of people selling it. I have been selling quality sterling silver jewelry for over 12 years. Over the last few years there have been some disturbing trends in retail as sterling silver became more popular. Here are some tips for buying sterling silver jewelry so you get what you pay for.

What are you buying?

1) There are all different types of silver out there, not all of it is sterling. You need to know what you are buying. Italian silver will be stamped “Italian 925” or “Italian Silver”.
2) Nickel silver is a metal alloy of copper with nickel and some times zinc. It is named for its silvery appearance even though it contains no elemental silver. It is also known as Alpaca silver, German silver, paktong, or new silver. People can advertise Alpaca silver as being silver as long as they do not claim it is sterling silver.
3) To make sure you are getting real sterling silver you need to look for the 925 stamp. If there is no stamp then it is not sterling silver.

What is the stone or gem in the jewelry? Most places use semi-precious gems and stones.
It is not uncommon to find coloured glass “gems” in some of the less expensive pieces.

1) Make sure the person selling you the sterling silver jewelry knows what the stones are.
2) It is important to know what the stone is because it changes what you can use to clean your silver. Amber cannot be cleaned with a harsh chemical or have the usual cleaning cloths rubbed against it. It will damage the Amber.
3) Knowing the gem is also important when looking for birthstones or for Crystals to be used for Crystal Healing of the Physical, Mental, Spiritual and Emotional Elements for over all Health of Mind.

When it comes to the cut, style or design of sterling silver jewelry what should you buy?

1) Where you are will decide what is in fashion. Different designs are popular in different areas. Some times a few blocks will make the difference between what is popular and what is not.
2) I have always said to go with classic lines and look, as those pieces never seem to go out of style.
3) What is popular, by sales, on right now is our Celtic, Medieval and Goth pieces. The Celtic is always popular and never seems to go out of style. The medieval and gothic pieces are popular due to the recent movies placed in medieval and fantasy settings.
4) Most important, buy what you like, not what is fashionable today.

Once you find sterling silver jewelry you like always take the time to check out the quality of the piece.

1) How thick is the piece; if a piece of jewelry is thin it can break easy. I have seen pendants snap and rings become misshapen quickly if it is too thin.
2) Are there any burrs? Poorly made silver pieces some times are not cleaned up and may have burrs. A burr is a raised edge or a sharp piece that sticks out. This can cut you or catch on things. I have even found burrs on some quality pieces that just did not get caught by the manufactures quality control.

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