Silver Facts

Besides being unusually expensive right now (somewhere around $18.75 per ounce – I’ve stopped looking as I find it too depressing). I thought it might be interesting to know where Sterling Silver comes from.

Fine Silver is 999.99 parts silver (the element Ag)

Sterling silver is one of the most useful metals.  In the Middle Ages silver coin was minted by German Merchants trading with England.  the merchants came from a family called ‘Esterlings’.  Their coin was 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper.  The copper alloyed into the silver makes the silver harder.  The word ‘Sterling’ came to mean honesty and integrity owing to the standard character of the coins that they produced.  Around 1300, Edward I of England decreed a standard for alloyed silver of the Sterling variety and required that ‘Sterling Silver’ be stamped with a leopard’s head.  In 1907, President Theodore Roosevelt signed the National Stamping law.  Sterling is stamped “sterling” or “925”.  Silver coins are usually 900 parts silver.

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