It can be quite confusing sometimes when purchasing jewelry. You find a style you like easily enough, but the the tough question, which metal to buy? With all the different types that are out there, we thought we would inform you about the main ones that we use in our chainmaille.
Sterling silver is the most common form we see in the market. It is 92.5% silver with the other 7.5% copper. The copper makes the silver stronger and easier to work with. Sterling silver jewelry should be labeled as SS, 925 or simply Sterling Silver.
Argentium silver is just like sterling silver (92.5% silver), except it includes a few more items besides copper. The most important element is germanium. This allows the Argentium to not tarnish as quickly as Fine Silver and Sterling Silver.
Gold –Filled (GF) has been around for over 100 years. It is a thick layer of gold bonded onto a base metal such as brass. This is why Gold-Filled prices go up and down with the gold market. The gold must be 1/20 (5%) the thickness or weight of the metal by law. This allows gold-filled to be polished and even soldered. The gold layer does not rub off as in Vermeil or Plated material.
Silver-Filled has become the biggest thing since silver prices have shot up. Silver-Filled (SF) is the same concept as GF, just with Sterling Silver. In silver-filled material, you see both 1/10 SF (10%) and 1/20 SF (5%) the thickness or weight of the entire piece. Silver-Filled can also be polished and soldered. It will not rub off with wearing. If you purchase a Silver-Filled piece and the silver wears off after a few times, it was most likely plated.