The price of silver has grown steadily over time, creating greater value and demand. Like gold and platinum, silver is a precious metal, giving it worth beyond its decorative purpose. As a definition, metals are considered precious when they are deemed rare. Historically, silver, like gold, has been used as currency. Today, it is considered primarily for investments and jewelry. Truly, the market value is an added incentive in buying silver jewelry. However, when shopping for silver jewelry online, it is important to follow a few guidelines to ensure a worthwhile transaction.
First, it is important to establish the credibility of any e-retailer site you should visit. Look for icons referring to established third party organizations that deal with consumer reviews and information security. Usually you can look at a certificate or company information on the third party sites giving you an objective view of the e-retailer in question. Check the dates on those certificates to make sure they are recent and not expired.
Next, check the warranty. There should be at least 30 days offered for both refunds and exchanges. A reputable retailer will always back their product with a strong warranty. Feel free to call you e-retailer to ask about the warranty. You can get a good idea about the level of customer service by their response. Once you have established the credibility of your chosen e-retailer and verified a strong warranty, it's time to browse and find your jewelry!
After settling on a desirable piece of silver jewelry, do a quick inspection. Look in the description area to establish that the jewelry is in fact, .925 sterling silver. This means that the item is made with 92.5% silver, mixed with various alloys. This is the industry standard and is the highest level of silver used in the jewelry today. Silver is too soft, in its purest form, for decorative wear. Authentic silver jewelry is stamped with .925, indicating purity and authenticity. If not visible in the picture, you can either call or email to confirm the existence of a stamp or simply wait to inspect the jewelry immediately upon receiving it.
OK, so you have a real piece of sterling silver, but what about the finish? Silver jewelry is not naturally shiny, but a rather dull grayish tone. Therefore, it requires some finishing work for public consumption. The surface of any piece of silver jewelry can be finished with several techniques. Rhodium coated silver is the most costly of finishes. Here, a ring or pendant is coated with Rhodium, the most expensive of precious metals, used primarily to coat gold jewelry. The benefit is a great shine with added protection from tarnish for your silver jewelry. Some manufactures will polish the silver to a strong shine. This technique takes time as buffing requires handcrafting and may be reflected in the price of the jewelry. The benefit is a more perfect piece, featuring a smooth service without nicks and imperfections.
Nickel plating and enamel coating is used primarily with Italian chains such as the Figaro, Curb and Marina designs. The benefit is protection against tarnishing. Silver jewelry in general begins to darken, or tarnish, over time through a process called oxidation, a chemical reaction between silver and oxygen. This does not devalue the silver metal itself and may take years to show. It is important to note that in some cases, silver jewelry that contains nickel may cause an allergic reaction, specifically, in the form of green skin. It is not particularly dangerous and quite rare. Question the e-retailer about hypoallergenic, nickel free silver jewelry.
Follow these simple guideline and you're sure to walk away with a safe, secure and satisfying experience with the breadth of silver jewelry available online.
Author Derek B. currently works in the jewelry industry. Go to JewelryPayless.com to see more information about sterling silver jewelry .