An Expert’s Guide to Working with Sterling Silver Beads
Sterling silver adds a touch of elegance and sophistication to any jewelry design. Well-known for its glistening glean and classic appeal, silver has been used in jewelry making for thousands of years. In fact, humans have been mining this precious metal since 3000 BC, and sterling silver has been around since the 14th century.
Sterling silver is the perfect metal to use when designing necklaces, bracelets, rings, earrings, or even body jewelry. It’s more affordable than other precious metals, like gold and platinum, but it still offers the high luster that we look for in quality jewelry pieces.
When you think about this metal, chains, bezels, clasps, and other findings are probably the first things that come to mind. While these materials are commonly used along with gemstones and other supplies to create captivating jewelry pieces, sterling silver is just as beautiful on its own. Sterling silver beads offer all the shine and sparkle of gemstones, and they are a great way to give your jewelry a unique look.
Sterling silver beads are extremely versatile, and they are fun to work with. As a metal, though, they come with their own unique challenges. Whether you’ve already started using sterling silver beads or you are thinking about trying them for the first time, here are a few things you need to know about them.
Benefits of Using Sterling Silver Beads
There are several reasons to consider using sterling silver beads in your jewelry creations. As a fine metal, this material has a high perceived value but is relatively affordable to work with. Customers are willing to pay more for jewelry that is “real,” and using sterling silver allows you to satisfy shoppers who are looking for the best without spending a fortune on materials.
Sterling silver is also hypoallergenic and unlikely to cause reactions in wearers, making it ideal for kids and people with sensitive skin. While many people are unable to wear jewelry made from lower-quality metals like white metal and pot metal, most are able to wear sterling silver. And solid sterling silver beads are a better investment than plated beads because plating tends to wear off over time.
Sterling Silver Beads Can Tarnish
If you own any sterling silver jewelry, you already know that this metal tarnishes. Pure silver is extremely resistant to tarnish, but, unfortunately, it’s too soft for use in jewelry. The more durable sterling silver is made by adding a small amount of copper to the silver. The copper adds strength and durability without detracting from the beauty and shine of the silver.
Unfortunately, the copper also makes jewelry made from sterling silver more susceptible to tarnish, which occurs as the result of exposure to moisture and sulfur in the air. If you use sterling silver beads in your jewelry designs, it’s important to protect them from the air as much as possible. Store them in an airtight container when not in use. Your completed pieces should also be stored in airtight containers and kept away from damp, humid environments.
The chemicals found in personal care products like body lotion, perfume, and deodorant can also speed up the tarnishing process, so make sure your hands are good and clean before handing or working with your beads.
You Can Use Them Just Like Gemstone Beads
A sterling silver bead can be used anywhere you would use a gemstone bead. Beads made from sterling silver come in a wide range of styles and sizes, and you can even find faceted sterling silver beads that look more like traditional stones. They can be used as spacers or alongside gemstones, or they can use used on their own. A string of faceted sterling silver beads makes a beautiful necklace or bracelet. Let your creativity shine, and you’ll find all sorts of ways to use these metal beads in your projects.