Sterling Silver - A Popular Metal for Fashion Jewelry
Handmade Jewelry, Gold Jewelry, Designer Jewelry
Man has been enamored with silver jewelry such as sterling silver pendants, rings, bracelets and chains for several centuries now. Ancient civilizations were captivated by the warm white luster of this metal, and used it to make ornaments, and to decorate the tombs, palaces, and temples. Our fascination with this beautiful metal continues to this day, and silver remains an extremely popular metal for jewelry settings, second only to gold. In the world of fine jewelry, gold continues to be in great demand. When it comes to costume jewelry however, silver is king. There are a couple of reasons for this. Firstly, gold today is extremely expensive. This may be appropriate when making fine jewelry worth hundreds if not thousands of dollars, but is far too expensive for fashion jewelry where the emphasis is more on the visual impact of the piece, as opposed to the value of the materials contained therein. Silver is a much more cost effective option in such cases. The second reason is that many jewelry fans find the yellow color of gold to be showy and somewhat ostentatious. The warm white glow of silver on the other hand, appears to be much more sober and down to earth. It also makes silver suitable for both casual as well as for formal outfits.
On advantage of the popularity of silver in fashion jewelry is that it provides designers to strive to create new and innovative designs that can appeal to a wide range of tastes and age groups. Take for example, the demand for antiqued silver jewelry. Most sterling silver on the market is coated with rhodium. Rhodium is harder than silver, and it protects the silver from scratches and tarnishing. Some jewelry fans however, prefer the tarnished look of silver that gives it the appearance of being an antique. So jewelry designers have found a way to selectively oxidize the surface of the metal so that the appearance of antiquity is much more authentic. Similarly, the demand for silver jewelry has encouraged designers to create jewelry that combines gems in silver settings. One common combination is a bright gemstone such as peridot or garnet in a simple and elegant sterling silver setting. Another option is to have an intricate pattern in silver filigree with only small gemstones that serve to accent the piece. The use of sterling silver in pearl jewelry has also gained in popularity. In the case of a a cultured pearl bracelet, the silver is usually confined to the clasp. In the case of earrings or a pendant, there may be much more silver exposed, with the pearl serving as the focal gem for each piece.
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