It's important to know when you're buying an item of silver jewellery - what the item is made of. Sounds simple, but many items offered on the web which describe themselves as 'silver' are often just made of a cheap base metal that has been electroplated with a thin layer of silver.In time, the plating rubs off to reveal the under metal. Quality silver jewellery however, is made entirely with solid silver.
In the UK, it is against the law to offer for sale an item described as 'solid sterling silver' which has not been hallmarked. Hallmarking is the process whereby an item of silver is scientifically tested to prove that it is entirely made of sterling* silver of a purity that is 925 parts pure silver of 1000 of the whole item. This is carried out by official assay offices of which there are four in the UK - London, Birmingham, Edinburgh and Sheffield.
Here at Gaelo Jewellery, we sell ONLY solid hallmarked silver and our items are tested and stamped - or hallmarked, at the Edinburgh Assay Office. The hallmarks are your guarantee that the item is solid silver.
The illustration below shows what the marks mean.
*The term STERLING comes from the 14th/15th century - silver was a common metal of coinage and exchange, but in those days silver came from a wide variety of places and its reliability as a stable commodity suffered from unreliable and variable purities. Over time, it was generally accepted that the silver which came from Eastern Europe (what is now Germany and Poland) was accepted as being of good, consistent quality and it became known as Easterly or Easterling Silver - and this evolved into the term Sterling silver. Now you know.