All About Silver
Some Facts About Silver
- Silver's chemical symbol is Ag.
- It can be hammered out into sheets so thin that it would take 100,000 of them to make a stack an inch high. These sheets are so thin that light shines through them, silver can be drawn into wires that are finer than a human hair. It is the best conductor of heat and electricity among the metals.
- The atomic weight of silver is 107.870, and its atomic number is 47. Silver melts at a temperature of 1761°F or 960°C. Silver has a specific gravity of 10.5. When melted, silver can absorb as much as 20 times its own volume of oxygen.
- Pure silver is too soft to stand up under constant wear, it is usually mixed with copper to form an alloy before it is made into commercial articles.
- Until the coinage act of 1920, British coins were 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper. The 1920 act reduced the silver content to 50%. The 1946 act eliminated all silver in British coins. They are now made of a copper nickel alloy.
- Sterling silver contains as much or more silver as British coins did. The word sterling has been used to mean high quality silver since the 1200's.
- Silver items marked sterling means they contain at least 92.5% silver. Some jewellery, especially some of foreign make, may be marked .925, instead of the word sterling.
- Silver plate is made by coating base metals with pure silver or silver alloy by electrolysis. Silver plate, being a lot less expensive than pure silver, is more widely used for tableware.
- Silver is not changed by moisture, dryness, alkalis, or vegetable oils, but sulphur will cause silver to turn black.
- Silver, like gold, is measured in Troy weight, a system that includes pennyweights, ounces and pounds (different to the customary imperial weight, e.g. a Troy ounces weighs about 10% more than a standard ounce).
24 gains = 1 pennyweight = 1.5552 grams
20 pennyweight = 1 Troy ounce = 31.1035 grams
12 ounces = 1 pound Troy = 373.24 grams
Care of Silver Jewellery
How to Protect Your Silver:
- Your silver jewellery should be the last thing you put on when you dress, and the first thing you take off when you undress.
- Always protect your jewellery from sharp blows, scratching, chemicals, sunlight, heat and cold. Store your silver jewellery in a sealed plastic bag in a soft lined box or pouch in a cool, dry place. Try to keep pieces apart, so that they don't rub together or tangle up.
- Wear jewellery for appropriate tasks, avoid wearing rings or loose bracelets when cleaning, gardening or performing sports activities.
- Don't let your jewellery come into contact with nail polish removers, perfume and hairspray.
- Clean your silver jewellery regularly, use a proprietory silver cleaning product such or a special silver cleaning cloth or solution (always read the manufacturers instructions). Clean the silver carefully and avoid polishing the other beads on your jewellery, such as crystals with an AB finish, as the cloth can remove that finish.
- Never go swimming in your jewellery as chlorine in swimming pools can cause damage to silver.