925 Sterling Silver
Since ancient times, people have been turning highly malleable silver into bracelets, necklaces, earrings and other accessories – also, of course, mirrors. Records of man’s infatuation with silver go back around 6 000 years. Back then, they would have found it one of the easiest metals to work with; silver is so malleable that a single grain of it can be compressed into a sheet 150 times thinner than a piece of paper. One ounce of silver can be drawn into 8 000 feet of thin wire!
As with gold, the purer the silver, the softer it is. So jewellers today will often combine it with other metal alloys, such as copper, to boost its strength. When pure silver is mixed with less than 7.5% alloy, it is known as ‘sterling silver’ – look out for markings such as ‘sterling’ or ‘925’ on pricier items of silver; they’re an indication that the silver in question has that ‘sterling’ reputation.