Sterling Silver Jewelry: From Humble Beginnings to Exquisite Craftsmanship�by: Chris Robertson
When we think of silver, the first thing that comes to mind is sterling silver jewelry. Yet, the history of silver and the uses for silver are rich and varied. According to The Silver Institute, a worldwide association of silver miners, refiners, fabricators, and manufacturers, the area today known as Turkey was the first location where silver was mined. That was around 4000 B.C. Around 1200 B.C., the center of silver mining moved to an area near Athens. According to The Silver Institute, during the height of production, the mines near Athens produced about one million troy ounces each year.
Over the first millennium A.D., Spain became a prominent producer of silver, which was vital to the Asian spice trade. From 1500 through 1800 A.D., Peru, Mexico, and Bolivia produced most of the world's silver. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, the discovery of silver deposits in Nevada, Colorado, and Utah caused production to explode. According to the Silver Institute, "Production over the last quarter of the 19th century quadrupled over the average of the first 75 years to a total of nearly 120 million troy ounces annually."
Today, the vast majority of silver is used in industrial applications ranging from the medical use of silver sulfadiazine to treat burn victims to solar energy's use of silver paste in crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells. Still, over 250 million ounces of silver are used each year to make silverware and silver jewelry. Your silver chain, silver bracelet, locket, silver earring, and wedding ring are all part of a rich history of silver.
Sterling silver jewelry comes in a variety of forms. One of the most popular uses of sterling silver jewelry is in silver chain. Silver chain is made in a number of different styles, including curb, cable, figaro, rope, box, snake, and herringbone. Some artisans use custom styling and may make silver chain in shapes like the rolled anchor, figure eight, alternating short- and long-link, diamond cut, and double rope. Silver chain provides the perfect backdrop for a locket or charm bracelet. A simple sterling silver necklace, bracelet, or ankle bracelet can also be worn on its own for understated elegance.
The craftsmanship of sterling silver jewelry is apparent in the glint of a silver earring or the selection of a once in a lifetime wedding band. Used as the setting for any number of pieces, today's most popular sterling silver jewelry items include Celtic designs, pentagram and pentacle designs, handcrafted glass bead designs, and Bali designs.
About The Author
Chris Robertson is a published author of Majon International.
Disclaimer: The information presented and opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of Jewelry-Making.com and/or its partners.