Sterling Silver and Metal Information
Some of our jewelry is made with Sterling Silver components and some are made with a lead-free Antique Pewter component where noted.
Here's the diffference:
Sterling Silver (marked .925) is an alloy of 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper. The sterling alloy produces a metal that maintains the lustrous white color of silver while increasing the strength and durability. TierraCast wire products (ear wires and sterling coils) are made from sterling wire supplied by reputable domestic suppliers.
The strongest theory as to the derivation of the name sterling is based on the standard silver alloy from an area known as “The Easterlings” in Germany. This simple alloy of silver and copper was adopted by Henry II of England as the standard for English currency and become known as Sterling.
Argentium® Sterling Silver, (marked .925) a patented sterling alloy that includes germanium to produce a metal with both increased strength and resistance to tarnish. The name Argentium ® is derived from the Latin word for silver, Argentum (hence the use of Ag as silver’s symbol in the Periodic Table.
Pewter is a metal alloy, traditionally between 85 and 99 percent tin, with the remainder consisting of copper and antimony acting as hardeners. Lower grades of pewter may contain as much as 60% lead, giving them a bluish tint.
The Federal Trade Commission and the American Pewter Guild define pewter as a "metal alloy product of which the chemical composition shall be not less than 90% Grade A Tin, with the remainder composed of metals appropriate for use in pewter."
Our non-sterling silver "lead free pewter" charms supplier uses an alloy called Britannia, composed of 92% tin, 7.5 % antimony and .5% copper. Tin is refined from ore that contains other metals, including lead. A chemical process is used to remove the lead, but trace amounts still remain. Although all pewter contains trace amounts of lead, the term "lead free pewter" is used to describe pewter that meets the stringent FDA standard of less than .05% (or 500 parts per million) lead content in pewter in contact with food.
Antiquing is the process of artificially inducing (or mimicking) the natural process of the tarnishing of metals. Depending on the plate type, parts are either darkened with chemical solutions or with specially formulated metal marking inks. Both approaches are carefully monitored to achieve a consistent appearance that creates polished highlights and dark contrasting recessed areas.