Silver gets its symbol (Ag) from the Greek word Argyros. Silver is a fine, precious metal. Its color is silver-white and it is often used in jewelry. Silver has to be alloyed (mixed) with other metals in order to use in jewelry production. This mixing of metals makes it more durable and rigid.
Jewelry and Silverware are traditionally made from Sterling Silver (standard silver), an alloy of 92.5% silver with 7.5% copper. Britannia silver is an alternative hallmarked-quality standard of the alloy containing 95.8% silver, often used to make silver tableware and wrought plate. Silver is often plated with rhodium for a bright, shiny look which does not tarnish as quickly. However, under normal conditions with no plating, Silver will tarnish – it’s the mixture of moisture and sulfur in the air we breathe that causes Silver to tarnish.
Oxidized sterling silver jewelry is made of sterling silver that has been exposed to oxygen in a pressurized environment for a long period of time. It is different from traditional silver because it is a darker color and has very little luster. The effect of oxidizing pieces is for a slightly tarnished or antique jewelry look. This happens when the sterling silver jewelry is purposely exposed to air that contains sulfur. This compound, silver sulfide, creates blacked patches, which gives the silver a dark black finish, resulting in pieces that have more of a vintage look.
Rhodium is a precious metal that is in the family of platinum. For rhodium plated jewelry, it involves plating the jewelry with a surface that guards against scratches that also gives a reflective white appearance. It is most commonly found on white gold jewelry but is used on silver and other materials to keep in looking great. Rhodium plating can also be referred to as rhodium flashing or rhodium dip.