Sterling Silver Jewelry
Silver in its purest form is a very soft metal, so for it to be used in products such as jewelry, it is mixed with other metals to increase durability. The most common silver mixture is known as sterling silver, which is composed of 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% copper.
British Hallmarked Sterling Silver
Centuries ago, the United Kingdom’s Royal Charter developed a “Hallmarking System” to guarantee the 92.5% purity of silver products, which are referred to as being British sterling silver.
The Hallmarking System is a series of stamps applied to each piece of sterling silver after it has passed a purity test. These stamps are issued by government controlled Assay Officers. Only those pieces that conform to its highest standard of purity receive a British hallmark, preserving the value of British sterling silver.
The series of marks included in the Hallmark indicate:
- The year of manufacture
- Which Silversmith produced the piece
- The purity of the silver
- Which Assay Office struck the Hallmark after testing the purity
Caring For Your Sterling Silver Jewelry
The natural properties of silver make it susceptible to tarnishing from exposure to both light and moisture. To prevent and remove tarnishing, clean your silver items regularly with an impregnated silver polishing cloth. Ideally, you should store your sterling silver jewelry in a place that is dry and cool, or in a tarnish-preventing cloth bag, as this slows down the tarnishing process.