A characteristic of the quality and authenticity of silver is its sample. This is a conventional name for a sign that is applied to a silver object, regardless of whether it is an ingot, or a chain, or simply a spoon, or a cigarette case. Currently in use metric system, that is, the application of a three-digit number that indicates the percentage of silver and other metals. For example:
- 99.9% silver — 999 standard,
- 92, 5% — 925,
- 80% — 800 respectively and so on.
It is generally accepted that the highest is not 1000, as some of the sources claim, but 999. Already at the time of extraction, 1 percent of impurities are present in nature, which cannot be avoided. In this form, silver is used for ingots in which it is stored in a bank, for exclusive coins that can be collected or as a coating for the decor of some non-domestic items. For household items, including jewelry, it is not suitable due to its high fragility, ease of mechanical damage and fragility. It is impossible to use it, as it crumbles, breaks, bends easily.
To correct this situation, other metals are added to silver, which make it durable. The most common is copper. If there is a large amount of it in the alloy, then silver loses its whiteness. Basically, these are silverware or collectible candlesticks, coasters, frames, church utensils, which are slightly yellowish. They are more prone to oxidation, as a result of the interaction of the metal with air, water or other factors. This is not an indicator of a lack of quality, it is simply solved by cleaning the product mechanically, with soap baths, tooth powder or special wipes. The most common option is that it will be an 800 sample, we look at the percentage above.
Did you know that to prevent darkening (blackening) of silver elements, their surface is coated with rhodium.
Most of all, silver has found its application in the production of jewelry. The name already indicates the silver color of the metal, with a characteristic white tint. Silver is suitable for all kinds of jewelry, be it rings, earrings, pendants, chains or bracelets. There are many people who prefer silver to gold, despite the fact that it is an order of magnitude cheaper. Silver has an external resemblance to white gold and even platinum. It sets off well and combines with gemstones of all colors due to its whiteness. Some prefer silver because of its energy. It is believed that silver absorbs negative energy, helps to get rid of diseases and carries a positive charge for the body.
Jewelers use 925 proof. It does not oxidize, does not have yellowness, is strong enough and is not scratched so much. Belongs to the number of high-grade alloys. The color is white, very similar to platinum, the least susceptible to oxidation compared to other silver “brothers”. This combination is so popular that it has been dubbed the “silver standard”. Its second name is sterling silver. It is used in minting coins and jewelry. In addition, it is used in the production of ionizers.
Chains, bracelets, rings and earrings made of rough silver darken over time, but are well cleaned. The price per gram of silver jewelry is calculated based on the price of pure silver, which is set by the national bank of the country like the exchange rate for foreign currency. Based on this, the price of silver items and jewelry is determined, including the cost of the work of craftsmen and other related costs of production and marketing.
The price of this noble metal, like the currency, is constantly changing. But it is enough to divide the sample value by 1000 and multiply by the current cost of 1 g. pure silver to calculate the cost of 1 gr. specific sample to date.
Currently, a gram of 925 silver costs (as of October 31, 2017) 13.35 UAH.
84 sample can be on the old collection items of Tsarist Russia. In our time, samples have three digits, at that time there were only two digits. But even at that time they put a test to confirm the authenticity of the product. Products of this sample are expensive, not because they contain a lot of silver, but because of their attitude to the category of antiques. You can only buy it at antique shops. The value of this silver is that only 875 items of this sample were made in Russia. At the same time, the price per gram is not more than the cost of 999 samples.
What is the best sample?
It is impossible to answer this question unambiguously. For example, from the point of view of investing money, it is most reasonable to purchase the 925th.
By the way, the samples mentioned above refer to the metric system of measurement. But there are other systems as well. It:
- carat (used in the USA and Canada);
- spool (it was used in the old days, on some decorations of those times you can see that the sample was affixed in certain measures — spools);
- sterling (not a separate system, but it has come into use with smart entrepreneurs; in fact, it means 925 silver).
Confirmation of the authenticity of the sample, and, accordingly, of the product, is the brand. Be careful when buying silver items, they must have the above-mentioned mark of the established state standard. The stigma is standardized, and may change in different countries. For example, in our country it is often performed in the form of a chestnut leaf or a trident.
We hope this article will help you understand the issues of testing silver products, as well as save you from buying low-quality or fake goods.