Sterling silver as the anchor material for most pieces
The material used in making your favorite silver necklace is not made from pure silver. If pure silver is used, then the product will easily damage, since silver is soft and malleable. To address these limitations, jewelry makers combine pure silver with another metal to come up with an alloy that is harder and can withstand use and abuse. Sterling silver is the most common alloy, and this is made by combining silver with copper. A sterling silver is made up of 92.5 percent silver, and the rest is made up of copper.
Copper helps bring out a more durable metal for jewelry making
There are other metals that can be combined with silver, like zinc and nickel. But copper provides the best combination in making the alloy more durable without affecting the color of silver. The addition of copper into silver will not influence the overall value of the precious metal. What affects the overall value of silver is the labor and the creativity to make silver item, and of course the complexity of the design.
Sterling silver is a mark of quality in the jewelry business. It comes with at least 90 percent silver, the balance being alloys for better durability and strength. This material will not wear down compared to silver-plated silver jewelry. So the next time you spot a great looking silver necklace made from sterling silver, consider it as a valuable investment. It is stylish and holds its value. And, you can pass it along to future generations just like that other precious metal, gold.