When shopping for jewellery and in particular silver jewellery it is important to know exactly what it is you are buying. There are three important things to consider:
1. What is the quality of the silver?
2. Is the jewellery well made?
3. Are you buying from a reputable retailer like Jive that offers a money back guarantee?
What is the Quality of the Silver?
Let's start with a simple question - how is silver quality defined? Not all silver jewellery uses the same alloy to add hardness so the quality of silver can be pretty random unless it is certified (stamped) as sterling silver.If you see a piece of jewellery advertised as "sterling silver" it must have a guaranteed level of pure silver and should have ".925" stamped on it somewhere.
Sterling silver is the name given to an alloy that is 92.5% by weight silver and 7.5% by weight other metals. Fine silver is 99.9% pure but is too soft to be used for jewellery. Copper is usually chosen for fine silver to create sterling silver alloy as it adds a lovely soft patina to silver.
The origin of the word sterling is not totally agreed but it likely originates from the old English term ‘steorling’ meaning ‘coin with a star’ describing some Norman pennies which were stamped with a star. What is agreed is that sterling silver as an alloy originated in Europe as it was used for commerce in the 12th Century in what is now northern Germany.
There are many silver alloys described by different names but .925 has become the standard for high quality sterling silver jewellery because it is the most durable of the fine silver alloys.
Other grades of silver alloys can be a little confusing as they mx country names with technical terms:
Mexican silver is 95% silver and 5% other metals. However today’s modern Mexican jewellery industry uses primarily .925 silver in the production of their pieces -- it’s just that the term ‘Mexican silver’ technically refers to silver which is 95% silver. While 95% is very high purity but it is considered a little too soft for jewellery worn in a modern woman's lifestyle. It is mostly used for rare pieces intended for occasional wear.
Coin silver is the name used to describe silver coming from melted coin. The USA coin silver standard was 90% silver and 10% other metals but other nations had lower standards. The standard is now set at 90% purity.
German silver describes silver which is 80% silver and 20% other metals. It is important however not to confuse this term with sterling silver jewellery from Germany – German silver is a specific type of silver, not the country of origin.
Silver plated jewellery is not silver jewellery at all, but jewellery made from base metals that is just plated with silver. It is found in costume jewellery normally sold in inexpensive fashion stores. It can be fun and fashionable it is not long lasting as the plating eventually wears.
There are many other types of silver with even lower pure silver content than German so be careful about buying any silver other than sterling silver.
All of Jive silver jewellery and mens jewellery is made of 925 sterling silver. As such, you can be assured that the silver used in our jewellery is the finest available for wearable jewellery and provides great design, good value and most importantly a lifetime of enjoyment.
Is the Jewellery Well Made?
Does it feel smooth and comfortable on, with no sharp edges or visible joins or roughness? Is the surface free from pits, marks or scratches that are not part of the design? Does the clasp appear strong and durable? These are some things that a quick visible inspection will reveal. At Jive we pride ourselves on choosing only those pieces which measure up to our strong, wearable quality standards.
Are You Buying from a Reputable Retailer?
Does the store offer a guarantee of quality and wearability? We understand it can be difficult to choose jewellery from a website without the opportunity to try it on, or truly give it a good visible inspection. While we are very proud of the quality and wearability of every piece we do more than just promote this, we back it up with a money back guarantee if you are unsatisfied for any reason. If you don’t love it when it arrives for any reason, just follow the return instructions and we’ll exchange it for you or give you a full refund. And everything we sell comes with a 12 month warranty against design or manufacturing defects.
View our jewellery videos and hear owner Jan Sinclair describe the reasons why Jive sterling silver rings, sterling silver earrings, sterling silver bracelets and sterling silver necklaces are better than anything you will find on the web or an average mall jewellery store.