Choosing the right piece of jewellery for you is no small matter. After all, there are an unimaginable number of pieces available for you to choose from. But how do you narrow it down?
Well, choosing the right design to suit your signature style is one thing, but considering key factors like materials, metals, quality and affordability are an entirely different matter.
So, we’re here to take the stress out of online jewellery shopping. Below, you’ll find our guide to buying silver jewellery online, including a few top tips to finding high quality (yet affordable) pieces, made by skilled creators.
The history of using silver in our jewellery
Although today it is a far more affordable option than its golden or platinum counterparts, silver was originally considered to be a precious metal, which was commonly used in the jewellery of royalty.
Throughout much of history, silver was used in fine jewellery across Britain. In fact, the implementation of the sterling silver standard was first introduced in the 13th century. The king at the time (Edward I), introduced a statute, which outlined the purity standard required for all items that were labelled as ‘silver’. This standard was at least 92.5%, and it’s a standard that is still in use today (more on that later).
The standard was upheld with the mark of a leopard’s head, which was the mark of the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths – the body of members which eventually became the Goldsmith’s Company.
According to the Victoria & Albert Museum’s intriguing online guide to a history of jewellery, the silver jewellery that was worn in Europe throughout the Medieval period (1200-1500) was indicative of the highly hierarchical society that was in place. Silver was used in jewellery in order to denote royalty and members of the nobility.
What does the ‘925’ mean?
In more recent years, silver is used more commonly, and is now a more affordable jewellery metal. However, the 925 standard has survived for all these years, and continues to be used today.
When you see silver that is labelled as ‘925 silver’, this means that the silver consists of a blend of 92.5% pure silver with another type of metal. Often, the alloy which is used in this blend is copper.
In silver plated jewellery, a base of a cheaper metal is used (such as brass or copper), and this is then coated with a thin layer of silver. This is a cheaper option, however, the silver layer will rub off over time, to expose the cheaper metal underneath.
You may also have heard the term ‘sterling’ silver often used in jewellery descriptions. In fact, this sterling silver and 925 silver are one and the same thing. Both terms simply denote a silver alloy with a very high proportion of pure silver.
You can tell whether or not a piece of jewellery contains this standard of silver by looking for the ‘925’ stamp on the metal – this tells you that the jewellery adheres to the required standard and composition to be classed as ‘925 silver’.
If a piece of jewellery does not have this stamp, but says that it is 925 silver, then the jeweller is most likely using this term in order to hike up the price. So be sure to check for this quality stamp when buying silver jewellery.
Our favourite sterling silver specialists
Hopefully, the tips above will give you a bit of a helping hand as you go about your online shop.
But, if you’d still feel more comfortable shopping at businesses that are quality-assured and have been recommended to you, then we can sort you out there, too.
At Roe River, we showcase a number of brilliant sterling silver specialists. These talented UK creators all come highly recommended by us. So, you can put your complete trust in the beauty, quality and style of these signature pieces.
We’ve listed a few of our favourites for you below.
This artisan jewellery maker produces stunning silver pieces of the highest quality. Each of these pieces are all handmade, which means that a piece of jewellery that you buy from Rouaida will be entirely unique to you. And that’s a rather special thing.
This chic range of sterling silver pieces is created using an innovative pairing of silver with enamel. Every component is carefully handmade, from scratch. We also adore the charitable ethos of this brand – 50% of all Halo’s profits is donated to charities that support the learning and education of disadvantaged girls.
Kristina produces beautiful, geometric silver pieces which have been inspired by the natural world. She uses recycled or fairly-traded materials throughout her products, and gives them a whole new lease of life. What’s more, these pieces feature an intriguing range of jewellery making techniques, including laser engraving, and 3D printing and casting.
These personalised pieces make a wonderful gift, or a beautiful adornment to your special day. R & R provides an extensive range of sterling silver pieces, including everything from necklaces to keyrings, all featuring a little bespoke touch.
This superb, family owned jewellery business has been around ever since 1879. Within their range, this premium indie provides an extensive variety of sterling silver pieces. These include watches, rings and bracelets, in a mixture of traditional and modern styles.
We understand that shopping for quality pieces of jewellery online is a process that requires a lot of extra care. You may not have even seen these pieces in person before, and so you want to be certain that you buy through a reputable, trustworthy company.
But, that shouldn’t deter you. Shopping online for your jewellery gives you the chance to find a piece that’s really special, and entirely unique to you. Plus, you can explore the craftsmanship on offer across the UK, and support the wonderful work of an independent business as you do so.
So, if you’d like to find out more about any of the businesses listed above, or buy your own piece of unique sterling silver jewellery, be sure to check out the products available to buy from the Roe River website.