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What is Silver?

Sterling silver is 92.5% silver and is sometimes referred to as pure silver. Sterling silver will tarnish over time but with care and regular cleaning can be restored to its good as new sparkling condition. The remaining 7.5% is usually copper but can be other metal and is used to give this precious metal strength and durability.

Generally, the higher the silver content the brighter or whiter the metal but beware of antiquing effects that can make a piece of sterling silver jewellery or decorative silverware look dark. Silver which is 99.9% silver is too soft to be practical for most day to day uses. Do not use tissue or anything other than a jewellery cleaning cloth to polish your jewellery as unseen tiny hard fibers will scratch the surface.

Gemstones are identified by gemologists

Gemstones are identified by gemologists. The first characteristic a gemologist uses to identify a gemstone is its chemical composition. Gems are characterized in terms of refractive index, dispersion, specific gravity, hardness, cleavage, fracture, and luster. They may exhibit pleochroism or double refraction. Who describe gems and their characteristics using technical terminology specific to the field of gemology.

Next, many gems are crystals which are classified by their crystal system such as cubic or trigonal or monoclinic. They may have luminescence and a distinctive absorption spectrum. For example, diamonds are made of carbon (C) and rubies of aluminium oxide (Al2O3). Another term used is habit, the form the gem is usually found in. For example diamonds, which have a cubic crystal system, are often found as octahedrons.

Care for Antique Gemstones

Gemstones are a valuable part of any piece of antique jewellery. Common sense is the best preventative measure when caring for any antique gemstone. Although the metal components of ornaments often receive the most attention, gemstone care is equally as important.

Hairdryers should never be used to dry freshly-cleaned gemstones, and no pieces should ever come in contact with chlorine. It is crucial to protect antique jewellery as a whole, in order to maintain as much value as possible over time.


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Last Updated : 19/06/2019 15:52:08