With the price of gold at an all time high people are focusing their attention towards silver. The modern designs made in this precious metal are appealing and affordable. Silver has been used in jewellery throughout the ages from the Ancient Greeks to the Romans.
Today's leading silver producing nation is Mexico, followed by the USA then South and Central America. Silver is the brightest of all metals reflecting 95 per cent of the light that falls on it compared with 92 per cent for gold when newly polished.
It has a silver-white colour and metallic lustre, however, when exposed to oxygen a black layer of silver oxide readily forms, tarnishing the surface. Because of this and the fact that it is too soft a metal to be used in jewellery in its pure form, silver is alloyed with other metals.
Tarnishing can be prevented by plating the surface with a rhodium based alloy. Rhodium, part of the platinum group of metals provides very good protection. Silver not in daily use can be protected by storing in special papers bags acting as a filter to stop the contact between the oxygen and silver.