Silver is one of the metals described as ‘precious’ and has been accepted as an international medium of payment for centuries. A silver ring is generally regarded as allergen-free and may therefore be given even to young children with little risk of any adverse reactions. It is frequently used in the production of rings and other forms of personal jewelry.
The chemical symbol [Ag] is derived from classical Latin and translates literally as “shining”. Because silver is one of the more malleable metals, it often has to be combined with other metals in order to retain its shape as a finished product.
While gold has become accepted as a Standard and tends to hold a steady price, the value of silver has fluctuated considerably. Over the last 20 years it has been as high as $50/Troy ounce (1980) and ‘bottomed out’ at just over $4/Troy ounce (1996). Currently (May 2010) the market price is about $18/Troy ounce.
Because silver is such a malleable metal it has always been popular as a material suitable for making jewellery, a delicate silver ring can be forged from extruded silver wire, sometimes with a diameter which approaches that of human hair but retaining the durability of any metal.. Because of its purity, silver is also popular with musicians: an instrument made of silver – such as a bell, or a trumpet – can be depended upon to “ring true”.
Silver cleans easily, and is often used for ‘droplet’ ear rings and other forms of body piercing when good hygiene is an important issue.
Many different types of jewelry are traditionally cast in silver, amongst them the Irish claddagh ring.It is very common “for the claddagh in the family to” be regarded as a family heirloom and is handed to the first-born boy of each generation.
The only drawback to this custom is a direct consequence of the malleable quality of silver. It is very likely that the ring will almost certainly need to be repaired (or at least adjusted) every time it is handed on, as the young man receiving the ring is likely to have much slimmer fingers than the adult who is giving it to him.
Another example of the ways in which silver may be used is in medical applications, when hygiene is of paramount importance. This is especially true in dentistry, particularly when you consider that fillings based on a silver amalgam are about one-eightieth the cost of a similar filling made with gold.
Author is sterling silver rings expert with nearly two decades experience in jewelry business. The company, he works for: Silver.Ag is one the biggest eshops on the world, with nearly 120.000 pcs of jewelry physically in stock.