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Is Sterling Silver The New Gold?

August 09, 2017

Is Sterling Silver The New Gold?

We have been in the jewellery industry for more years than I can remember. Fine jewellery is more than a fashion accessory. Often a treasured piece of jewellery comes with a sentimental attachment especially a family heirloom.

Jewellery is not immune to fickle fashion trends though. We see certain styles stand the test of time where others explode onto the market in a media frenzy before fizzing out faster than a fidget spinner. 

A trend we have observed over the last few years has been the mixing of metals. People who traditionally wore only gold have taken to mixing their gold jewellery with sterling silver, titanium, white gold, rose gold and even platinum. A driving factor for the increase in the popularity of silver in particular is the considerable price difference between the various gold & platinum alloys and Sterling silver. 

 

Sterling Silver With Rose Gold Plate  by Emily Becher

 

Sterling silver has a lot of pro's. From a makers perspective it is a nice, workable metal capable of handling many different manufacturing techniques, finishes and modifications. Not to mention it generally repairs well. For the wearer sterling silver is versatile, cost effective and it looks great when paired with yellow and rose gold. Mixed metal is not just for the ladies either. Men can rock the two-tone look as well and it can look particularly striking when heavy, oxidised textural pieces are thrown in the mix.

 

Left: Wanderer Pendant by Albert Tse, Right: Stake Pendant By Caity Lane

 

As for the con's, we the makers seem destined to fight the dreaded firescale no matter how technologically advanced the alloys become. The high heat conductivity of silver makes for some toasty fingertips during extended periods of polishing, especially for large pieces. Our trusty leather gloves come in handy for keeping our fingers intact when it comes time to hit the polishing mops.

For the wearer, tarnish seems to be the biggest concern when considering a sterling silver piece. Time and time again we read misinformation online and hear it from our customers in regards to tarnish on silver jewellery.  There seems to be a general belief that a piece of silver that tarnishes must not be real silver but instead, costume jewellery.  This is a false statement. Tarnish can and will occur with sterling silver jewellery. How and why depends on a few different factors. Humidity and other environmental factors, acidity levels in the skin, medications or hormonal conditions that effect the skin's natural PH level as well as exposure to chemicals all play a role in why a piece of silver will tarnish and how badly it discolours.

The good news is that no matter how bad the tarnish, the piece can always be restored to its highly polished glory relatively easily.  At home methods to remove tarnish and restore sparkle to silver can involve silver cleaning solutions or silver polishing cloths but for a " full factory reset" polish your local jeweller should be your preferred destination. 

So, we know silver looks good and the price looks even better. It matches well with other colour alloys such as yellow and rose gold and wearing the different colours together is currently "on-trend" but is it a fashion fad? 

We think not. No matter how far global political instability pushes the gold price, silver is always miles below the price of gold with it's price per gram remaining relatively stable over the last decade. Silver is here to stay, and at such an attractive price point, you can experiment with different styles and techniques without having to word up your bank manager in advance!

You can see a huge array of silver work with a range of finishes and techniques by browsing our artists collections and if you see a technique you would like to learn more about you can shoot us a message. We are always happy to educate about the exciting and interesting ways  that are used to create such diverse and unique pieces.

See our Artists collections here




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