Silver Jewelry - Why Quality Matters

What makes silver more valuable to us than minerals?

Its beauty is one thing. The attractive and reflective metal has long fascinated men and women. The second is its rarity - and things that are both beautiful and rare are often worth a lot. And finally, it is its properties - it is easily deformed and relatively durable. In the periodic table of elements, it is represented by the symbol Ag (Latin argentum, meaning "off-white"). Ancient civilizations associated silver with the moon because of its gray-white color, which contrasts with gold and its association with the sun.

Why we use sterling silver?

At Pukka Berlin, we make all of our silver jewelry from a sterling silver alloy. This gives our jewelry a rich yet durable feel. In addition, all of our pieces are nano-coated for longer durability and slow oxidation. We do not shell our products in the process, as we believe silver products should feel as rich and last as long as possible as gold products.

Sterling .925 SIlber

Technically, "solid" silver is .925 sterling silver. If it were actually 100% silver, it would not be strong enough to make jewelry with. It would be too soft and it would tarnish faster. So 92.5% silver is the "most solid" we can get. The other 7.5% is an amalgam of other metals to strengthen the silver. But then why not just silver plated? Why not with gold? Gold is an expensive option. Other options are great too, like copper and brass. They are even more affordable and also durable, BUT they are not as valuable as silver. Silver has a high value as a precious metal, while brass and copper are base metals. The natural look of sterling silver is the white silver color we are most familiar with. All types of silver tarnish as the silver oxidizes with the natural oxygen in the air. However, we have found ways to delay and slow down this process for a variety of reasons.

All of our silver pieces are coated with a special nano-coating that acts like a protective shield and further prevents tarnishing. At the same time, they are easy to clean and maintain with cleaning and polishing agents. For the pink and yellow colors, we use an 18k vermeil gold plating on the silver, more on that below. So when it comes to affordability and longevity, sterling silver is your best friend. Especially for rings, since they often get the most wear and tear. People who are allergic to metals like nickel or brass can wear sterling silver jewelry without much concern. At Pukka Berlin, we make sure that it is a nickel-free alloy. This is also important for accessories like earrings. The metal additive to sterling silver is usually copper, which is much less likely to cause an allergic reaction.

Vermeil gilding

Vermeil jewelry is one of the hottest trends right now because it strikes the perfect balance between quality and value. Many people tend to confuse vermeil with traditional gold plating. Although they have a few aspects in common, there is a big difference in quality, durability, and desirability. At Pukka, we have chosen to only gold plate with vermeil. Here are the reasons why. Vermeil is a type of gold-finished material that consists of a thick layer of gold over solid sterling silver (instead of brass or copper). At Pukka we do not use base metals, we only use silver and gold. The thickness of the gold portion is what really sets vermeil jewelry apart from simple gold plated pieces. The thickness of the gold portion has to be a whopping 2.5 microns, which is well above the gold plating standard. And we didn't want to just do the minimum, so we gold plate at 3.0 microns and above. So if you want a collection of high-quality jewelry without the price tag of pure gold, gold vermeil is a fantastic option. Another advantage of vermeil is that it usually looks like gold to the naked eye, especially our 18k variety. Therefore, it's a great alternative for those who want a natural gold look and feel. You can also polish it up to give it a nice shine, or tarnish it for a vintage look. In doing so, our jewelry comes with an anti-tarnish coating that makes your jewelry last longer. So if you're looking for quality demi-fine jewelry, a Vermeil collection in 18k gold is a great choice.


The history of silver

Silver and jewelry

The history of silver begins somewhere around the end of the 4th millennium BC, when clever inhabitants of what is now Turkey discovered that they could extract silver from lead through cupellation. Because of its properties, silver has been used in a variety of ways from then on, from more practical purposes like currency to more artistic purposes like jewelry. Although silver is somewhat less ductile than gold and requires more frequent annealing during the manufacturing process, it can still be cast, hammered into wafer-thin sheets, engraved, stamped, used in repoussé work, and decorated with filigree and granulation.

Vessels, statuettes and jewelry have been found in Mesopotamia, indicating that silver was used at that time with a high degree of purity, resulting in quite soft objects. Silver today is relatively inexpensive when compared to other precious metals such as gold or platinum. This might lead one to believe that it is not an important metal. However, this is wrong. At times in history, silver has been valued higher than gold. If you look at the amounts of silver used in jewelry, its use outweighs all other precious metals many times over.