Working with Silver

Posted by: mountaindreamers

Summer Mountain Lotus Earrings with a fine silver on sterling wires.One of the challenges of creating your own pieces is to find components that suit your vision.

I prefer to use either sterling or  fine silver. There are so many options for components it literally will make your head spin. How do you know the actual composition of  your componet  pieces? Of course buying from a reputable dealer is always good advice. If buying actual pieces looking for the .925 sterling hallmark is a must. Sterling from the US and Europe is fairly reliably marked.  However, we live in a more global market place.

One can purchase acid kits to verify if you have sterling or plated  silver. This does involve destruction of a small part of the piece, as you are scratching the surface and applying the nitric acid.  The nitric acid will come with a color code to distinguish base metal from silver but will not give you a quantitative amount of silver. Nitric acid is a corrosive chemical and should be handled with all safety precautions.  If you do have sterling then the area can be buffed back to a shine, other wise you will have a damaged plated piece. The pieces I enjoy wearing and making are for life long wear. This is why I prefer sterling or fine silver. Other reasons I avoid plated pieces is allergic rashes and discoloration  that some persons have to base metals.

Silver and Gold Acid test kits can be purchased online. Other methods of testing include specific gravity testing and more expensive testing involving actual breakdown assays of the item. This  is not alway practical in the world of jewelry making.

Whatever method you prefer, finding reliable supplies is part of the adventure of creating!

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Mountaindreamers (aka mountaindreamers )
Kalispell, MT, US

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