Sterling Silver Jewelry

“Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today. Teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime.”  This philosophy proved true for Native American Indians who made a living after being taught to make sterling silver jewelry.  Sterling silver is frequently associated with necklaces, bracelets and earrings, but sterling silver holds a great deal more history than just that. 

The Spanish settlers first taught the Native American Indians the useful art of manipulating silver in the early nineteenth century.  Indians considered this a traditional occupation and have since continued the art of making sterling silver jewlery.  Silver bracelets, silver necklaces and silver earrings are often made by Navajo Indian artists of various tribes and clans.  Navajo artists also employ the use of other precious gems such as mother of pearl, coral and opal to make equally beautiful variations of sterling silver jewelry.  Various Indian tribes are notorious for their unique ability to create variations of sterling silver and precious gems.  For example, the Xuni tribe is known for its inlay and channel techniques, and Hopi and Santa Domingo Indians are notorious for using overlays in their work. Not only is the jewelry they create beautiful, when you buy wholesale jewelry you can save money allowing you to afford many of the different styles.

Although pure silver could be found naturally, its population was taken over by the discovery and creation of sterling silver, which is a mixture of pure silver and alloy, usually made up of copper or other similar metals.  Traditional sterling silver is 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% alloy, but it looks almost identical to pure silver.  Sterling silver has benefits as well as its downsides, but the benefits are in favor.  Pure silver is very malleable, and hence it is not as strong as jewelry should be.  Sterling silver on the other hand, has the added stability of the alloy, offering stronger metal for damage resistance.  Sterling silver tends to tarnish with water and oil from the body, but it also protects against corrosion that occurs with pure silver.

Regardless of the fact that sterling silver jewelry has been around for centuries, it has recently become a major fashion statement over the last few years.  Sterling silver jewelry can be seen on movie stars, fashion models and style gurus, and even if it goes out of high fashion it will likely make its return because as they say, history and fashion repeats itself over and over.

Joseph Paige 2006

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