Let's dive into Silver jewelry. First to be noted is Silver is 99.9% pure and typical Silver Jewelry is made from the purity of 92.5% Sterling Silver. The remaining percent is composed of copper or other metals. The simple reason Sterling Silver is of less purity is that normal Silver is a relatively soft metal and not durable enough for daily wear. The added metal alloy content in Sterling Silver makes it more durable to wear. Also, the fact that 99.9% pure Silver is more expensive than the slightly less pure 925 Sterling Silver. Both, however, are precious metals and valuable. Now, it is true that Gold is more expensive so it is by association more valuable but Silver jewelry should not be overlooked. It is a perfect substitute for those looking to save money on a beautiful piece of jewelry.
Those who have a metal allergy to certain metals that may be in Sterling Silver need to not worry about a Sterling Silver piece that is Rhodium or Platinum plated as these precious metals are hypoallergenic. What exactly is Rhodium or Platinum...? They are both precious metals that are even more rare and expensive than Gold. Both are whiter, brighter and harder than Gold or Silver alone. Pieces of Sterling Silver jewelry that are plated with Rhodium or Platinum are done so to prevent tarnishing. It also adds value to the piece and increases the durability of the piece.
Now the question in your head remaining and probably the most important question, is just how long does Rhodium or platinum plating last? The short answer is not forever. The plating process is done in microns which is as the name suggests, are small amounts. Most high-quality pieces like the ones we sell here at Gemstone Collectors US will last for years. My best comparison is to a piece of wood furniture or floors. Most wood furniture or floors are sealed with Varnish to improve durability and shine. However, with time it can be worn off and need to be redone. This is the same with jewelry pieces that are Rhodium or Platinum plated as well.
There are preventive measures that can be taken to ensure that the plating lasts longer, such as removing your jewelry when washing your hands, storing your jewelry properly from exposure to air & moisture and removing it when you are doing manual labor. If taken care of properly then there is no reason your plating should wear off very quickly or even at all if cautious.
In conclusion, Sterling Silver jewelry is a great alternative to the cost of solid Gold or Platinum pieces. Silver is not inferior to gold just not as expensive but still a precious metal with its own merits and deserves a spot in your jewelry box.
Zachary Sutton, G.I.A. G.G