Silver Jewelry Buyers
Jewelry buyers around the world have had affection for silver like no other precious metal. While gold is highly valued because of its rarity, unusual color and malleability, silver is the most useful and widely consumed of the precious metals. Silver jewelry buyers look for certain characteristics in their jewelry that gold cannot offer. The Latin name for silver is ‘argentum’, which means ‘shining.’ The white metallic luster of silver is not duplicated by any other precious metal, even gold that has been alloyed with other metals to make white gold. Silver is more accessible to smiths so they are free to experiment with designs and make them more elaborate.
Sterling silver buyers can travel the world to find beautiful works of art since silver is associated with many cultures. Jewelry buyers are familiar with the ever popular Bali silver from India. Silver is also mined in Australia, Peru and Spain. Spaniards brought silversmithing to the Americas and now Native American jewelry is well known, and the silver used in it comes from one of the largest deposits in the world, which stretches from Montana to Mexico.
While everyone has heard of the ‘streets of gold’ mentioned in the Bible, a little know fact is that silver is mentioned more than two hundred and fifty times there as well. It is used as a reference to the purity of someone or something or the purification of it. It is also used to explain the high value of an object. While silver is one of the precious metals used as coinage through the ages, Mexico is currently the only country still using an amount of silver in their coins. While more than twenty five thousand tons of silver are processed for use every year, only one third of that amount is used for jewelry. The rest of it goes to medical, photographic and other industrial uses.
One characteristic of silver that gold does not have is the ability to create a fantastic patina as it ages. Repeatedly throughout the history of silver jewelry, fashion has dictated that the popular ‘antiqued’ look was in high style. Gold cannot tarnish, but silver does as it is exposed to light; this tarnish in not corrosion but rather just the right amount of oxidation to leave a rich, dark color in the crevices of a piece of metalworked silver. Another very important reason that jewelry buyers like to use silver is due to the ratio of gold value to silver. Gold is averaging around 50 times the price of silver, but once the silver has been worked into a beautiful piece of sterling jewelry, that ratio could be cut in half or more.
Sterling Silver -The Precious Metal
Silver has been called the ‘gateway’ precious metal. Historically, only the upper tiers of society have been able to afford the highly coveted objects made from gold, but silver, being less expensive, was much more accessible to people in the middle and lower income brackets. Since people come to love what they are accustomed to, silver became the precious metal choice of the masses and sterling silver buyers alike. In the Incan culture, silver was romantically called ‘the tears of the moon’ because of its unusual luster. The poet Yeats said, “I carry the sun in a golden cup, the moon in a silver bag.” Native silver –silver which is almost in its pure form- could be found lying on top of the ground or a riverbed in some areas of the world. Not only was this the epitome of accessiblity, but the silver was soft enough to be worked by anyone with a few very simple tools.
The historical silver buyer had many uses for this special precious metal. Silver’s antimicrobial property has been well documented throughout the centuries. Over three thousand years ago, people stored their beverages in and drank from silver vessels to take advantages of these properties. This is rumored to be the reason silver was the first choice for tableware. Incidentally, the cliché that someone was ‘born with a silver spoon in his mouth’ does not refer to wealth, but to the health of the child. Even today, silver is used in bandages and water filters because of its bacteria killing ability. Hospitals use silver in the treatment of burn victims because of its incredible healing powers. If your eyeglasses darken in the sunlight, silver has been incorporated into the glass. Is it any wonder that the word ‘sterling’ has become synonymous with excellence?
Industrial uses for silver are abundant. The average American will not go a single day without several encounters with this precious metal. If you flip an electrical switch, use the keyboard on your computer, use a battery or look through a double pane window, silver is making your life more comfortable. A thin layer of silver under glass made it possible for someone to accurately see their own reflection in the mirror. Prior to that invention, a sheet of silver was polished to a ‘mirror finish’ and used as a mirror. Silver scrap buyers supply the industries with most of the silver they use.
Silver buyers will take all sterling silver that is marked. Things to consider selling include old, broken or out of style jewelry and watches. Also consider selling tableware that has no sentimental value to you, including silverware, candlesticks, vases and napkin rings. Certain items may be worth more if sold on consignment or at auction, so be sure to check on these other options before making a final decision to have these pieces melted down.