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Promoted item:FABULOUS 1 CT RUBY 925 STERLING SILVER RING SIZE 5

FABULOUS 1 CT RUBY 925 STERLING SILVER RING SIZE 5

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About Sterling Silver

Sterling silver is what we know as silver today. Pure silver (99.9 percent) is too soft and malleable for functional use. Sterling, short for the original Easterling name, is 92.5 percent silver and 7.5 percent other metal, usually copper. Sterling silver usage in coins became popular in the 13th century in Europe, but not until the mid-19th century in the United States. By then, all silver was pretty much sterling. While no longer used in coinage, sterling silver is still widely available in flatware, jewelry, plates and other serving ware. Sterling silver plated vanity or dresser sets are popular antiques from the turn of the century. Complete with mirror, brush and comb all adorned in sterling silver, these collectors' items are valued up to several hundreds of dollars in excellent condition. Very special sets also include bobby pin holders, hatpin holders, vases, ring boxes and perfume bottles, all accented in sterling silver. Historically significant or royalty-owned sets sell for $2,000 or more. Silver CollectingOne of the greatest advantages of collecting sterling silver pieces is that they can be authenticated and valued by their hallmarks. Hallmarks, first applied in 1478, mark the maker and year of origin of the sterling silver object. From this hallmark, appraisers and collectors can determine the entire history of the piece, including age, location of origin, ties to royalty, etc. It is important to note, however, that hallmarks have been forged over the years. The shape and design of the piece will corroborate a true hallmark. For example, the height and shape of antique silver coffee pots determine when and where they were made, so if a hallmark doesn't match, it will be readily spotted as a fake. Also, decorations and embellishments are typical of certain time periods, as well as the thickness and 'scratch' weight of the object itself.