The Uses of Silver

By: Robert Frechette

Today we are going to continue our series on the uses of silver. What is the first thing you think about when you hear the word silver? For me, I immediately think of my grandmothers silver tea set that sits proudly on her buffet in the dining room. Silver is such a unique and versatile material. It has so many uses.

One of its first uses was in currency. It is a metal that does not easily corrode so it is great conductor of electricity. It can tend to tarnish but is easily cleaned again with a little polish. It is flexible and also a great conductor of heat. I was surprised to learn that most switches and electrical appliances all have contacts that are made of silver. Silver is also used in materials for photography.

You may be surprised to know that of the world's usage of silver, only 14 percent is used for silverware and jewelry. This is where sterling silver comes into play. In order to make it more durable and stronger, 7.5% copper is added to 92.5% pure silver and that is how you come up with 'sterling silver.' It has reflective qualities and malleability which makes it extremely attractive in using it in decorative items and jewelry. When purchasing a piece of jewelry, one of the first things we do to make sure that it is true sterling silver is to check for the stamp that is usually placed near the clasp. It simply states 3 numbers, ..925 and having that somewhere on your piece of jewelry makes it authentic.

Many people who have allergies or reactions to certain kinds of metal will tend to choose something more pure like gold or sterling silver. That is why Gilbert and Frech items are of the highest quality sterling silver. Silver is such an attainable and affordable way to go especially in comparing it with some of the other metals which seem to be much more expensive. I personally like the color of sterling sliver much better than say a yellow gold. I love how, when paired with a gemstone, it reflects and enhances the beauty of the stone. It is something of quality that lasts much longer, much like a piece of gold would last, and yet not as costly. Tomorrow we will talk about its value and how its worth has changed dramatically over the years.

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