It has been said enough already that the only difference between pure silver and sterling silver is the presence of 7.5% of copper in the latter one. Other than this, there is nothing on which any differentiation could be made. But due to some false claims, people are left speculating about the quality of their sterling silver necklace. So for once and all, let us settle this debate about the purity of sterling silver by looking upon its process of manufacturing. And while we are on it, do make observations to see for yourself that whether any impurities are added at any stage, which could make your silver stud earrings at home seem fishy.
Metals Used in the Manufacturing
Other than silver, which is the parent material throughout the process, one other material is used. This is done because pure silver is not fit, or is too soft, for the sake of using it in jewelry or any other product of daily use. Coming back to the alloy part, Copper is mostly used as the second material. The percentage of metal is 7.5% by weight. This is done to increase the strength of the final product.
Other materials which could be used in place of copper include zinc, platinum, and germanium.
Silicon and boron are also added sometimes to improve the properties at the last stage.
- The manufacturers first pour the alloy and fine silver into a mold made up of stainless steel.
- This allows a rapid cooling of silver, and its hardening into a flat rectangular bar.
- The bars are then sent between two metal rollers, which apply a constant pressure of around 3,000 pounds.
- The machine operators continue to decrease the gap between the rollers to keep on thinning the silver bars.
- As the rolling process makes the metal brittle, the bars are subjected to reheating to restore its flexibility and malleability.
- Once the flexibility and malleability are restored, the bar is once again sent between rollers that further elongate the bars to exceptional proportions, making a 10-inch long bar into a 4-yard long strip.
- To turn the bar into a hollow tube, so it can be used to silver stud earrings or normal hollow rings, the strip is further subjected to forming rollers.
- These forming rollers progressively curl edges up and inwards till the bar becomes a hollow tube.
- Once it is done, the material is further subjected to many other machining processes like winding, abrasion, and polishing.
- But nowhere in the process, any other impurity is added to degrade the final product.
The one explained above is a process carried on by highly precise machines, making the whole practice of sterling jewelry making error-free. Though there are other manual processes too, which are used for the whole jewelry making art, and are carried on by artisans’ hands and skills, they too should be no reason for suspecting the quality of your sterling silver necklace.
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