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What exactly is in 925 Sterling Silver?

Jennifer Gregory baby bangles , baby earrings

A large percentage of our baby jewellery and children's jewellery at Baby Jewels is 925 sterling silver.  But what does that mean? Sterling silver is 92.5% pure silver. Why isn't it 100% silver?  Because pure silver is too soft a metal to use for children's jewellery. It would dent and bend, and be scratched too easily, especially by the often rougher handling by kids, and the scratches would dull the shine.  For this reason, other metals are added to the pure silver to harden the silver and make it suitable for children's bracelets, children's earrings and other items of jewellery which might not be handled with extreme care by its owner.  

Ok, so what other metals are added to pure silver to make it suitable for jewellery for kids?  Mostly, copper is added.  Copper hardens the alloy and doesn't change the look of pure silver.  What other metals might be added?  Usually none, but lately manufacturers are looking for ways to reduce tarnish and porosity and are experimenting with the addition of metals such as germanium, zinc and platinum.  

Quite often children's bracelets, children's charms and chidren's necklaces are coated (or plated) with platinum.  Why platinum? Platinum is an expensive metal much like silver, but is harder.  The coating (or plating) leaves the jewellery with a harder, shinier exterior which helps guard against scratches, which spell the death knell to the shine on new jewellery.  This means the jewellery will last longer, look new for far longer, but possibly, cost more.   Items which are hoped will become family heirlooms, may well be worth the extra cost so that the "new" look lasts through the years.


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