Sterling silver is often characterized as pure silver, when in fact it is a silver alloy. Pure silver, also called fine silver, is defined as 99.9% pure silver, but is too soft for most uses. Sterling contains 92.5% silver, with the remaining 7.5% being another metal, most often copper. The addition of the less costly metal - often called a base metal - serves to harden the resulting alloy so that the metal can be cast into shapes that it will retain with use.
Sterling silver is marked with a stamp on the bottom of the piece. The shape of the stamp varies from country to country.
Niaforever.com sells sterling silver.
Turquoise is a blue to gray-green mineral consisting of copper aluminum phosphate. The mineral is a phosphate of aluminum, which includes a small percent of copper. The copper is what gives the mineral its blue coloring. When the turquoise mineral is associated with iron, that’s when you get the greenish turquoise. If the mineral [...]
Amber comes in a variety of shades, ranging from a deep red to a bright green. However; yellow, orange, and brown are the most common. Amber is mined from all over the world, with the majority of stones coming from Russia, the Baltic States, and the Dominican Republic. The Dominican Republic has the very rare [...]
When referring to the black onyx stone specifically, it is called “black onyx.” It has long been used as a cameo stone and has been a symbol of ritual and elegance for many centuries. It gained popularity as a cameo stone in the Victorian age because it is said to give strength and protection to [...]
When the Spanish traders brought coral with them to the Native Americans in the 16th century, they began to incorporate it into beaded necklaces for ceremonial use. When silver began to be used in Native American jewelry, artists began to incorporate both turquoise and red coral into their designs. The Mediterranean coral that was originally used [...]
Malachite is one of the most popular decorative gemstones due to its intense green color and unique patterns within the stone. Stones with concentric patterns are considered most valuable. The green color comes from the copper deposits within the stone and it is often mined along with copper itself in the Democratic Republic of the [...]
One of the most popular shells used in Native American jewelry is the Spiny Oyster Shell. They are often found in the Sea of Cortez, off the coast of Baja, Mexico and Baja, California. They are prized for their great colors; orange, red, purple, and yellow. These fantastic colors are not altered by jewelers in [...]
The Zuni tribe was the second tribe of Native Americans to learn silver working and incorporate it into their jewelry. They quickly mastered the Navajo cluster-work technique, which evolved into the popular petite point or needlepoint style. However, modern Zuni artists are best known for their use of inlay, bold colors, and animal shapes. The most [...]
Throughout the years, the Navajo tribe has used turquoise jewelry both as adornment and in trade. They learned jewelry making from the Spanish in the early 16th century, and continued to trade with them for silver and tools over the next two hundred years. The influence of the Spanish can be seen in the prevalence [...]