Let’s discover the factors that draw us to sterling silver rings with stones, which represent personal style and are a valuable and precious gift. Use 925SHINE's buying guide to choose the highest quality rings for your budget.
1. Are Sterling Silver Rings Good?
1.1. What is Sterling Silver?
Sterling silver is made from 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% metal alloy, which is usually Copper. This gives 925 silver extra strength while preserving the ductility and appearance of pure silver.
You can learn more about sterling silver in this article: Top 5 Things to Know about Sterling Silver Rings
1.2. Does Sterling Silver Cause Allergies?
Few ring wearers have problems with silver jewelry and most will never have an allergic reaction such as a rash, redness or itchiness. However, if the wearer of a sterling silver ring has such reactions, it is not the sterling silver, but the nickel that is causing the allergic reaction.
Any jewelry known as silver-plated is crafted with a thin layer of silver overlaid with another base metal such as nickel, tin, or brass. These rings are of low quality and low price. Their outer silver layer is often abraded, exposing the underlying metals, which come into contact with the skin, causing allergic reactions.
Silver-covered rings are created similarly to silver plating. The difference is the thickness of the top silver layer. This type of ring has better quality because the outer silver layer is thicker. However, there is still no guarantee that the top layer will not erode and expose the underlying layers of base metal.
Please note, 925 sterling silver and 925 sterling silver plated rings are two completely different concepts. 925 sterling silver, as explained above, is 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% other metal, usually copper. On the other hand, 925 sterling silver plated jewelry is made primarily of other metals, but with only a layer of 925 sterling silver. And obviously, 925 sterling silver is less harmful to your skin.
Note: You can know the quality of a sterling silver ring by looking for the “925” stamp. Also, look for rings labeled "hypoallergenic" or "nickel-free".
2. How to Choose a Quality Gemstone
Gemstone quality, like diamonds, is graded based on the "four C's" guidelines, as assigned by GIA (the Gemological Institute of America).
Color is measured by the hue, tone, and saturation of the gemstone. This is the most important factor when choosing a quality gemstone.
- Color describes the dominant color and any additional colors visible in a gemstone. It indicates the purity of the dominant color of the gem.
- Tone is measured by the lightness or darkness of a color, from very light to very dark.
- Saturation is the intensity or purity of the gemstone.
A well-cut gemstone must present the perfect combination of color, weight and safe shape for mounting. Specifically, the gemstone should have natural beauty while retaining as much weight as possible, and is shaped for optimal mounting. For example, a quality sapphire is often faceted to make the most pleasing illumination of the gem’s color. Opal and onyx are with a smooth, rounded surface to demonstrate the gem's complexity in terms of color.
Unless the gemstone is not transparent, clarity is a critical factor of its beauty. Clarity is measured by how light is reflected off the stone. However, the natural beauty of some gemstones is partly based on internal impurities. For example, some emeralds have a “jardine”, which makes each gem unique.
The weight of a gemstone is measured in carats and the heavier the stone, the more carats. The jewelry industry also measures colored gemstones by size in millimeters in addition to carat weight. The millimeter size is considered when incorporating colored gemstones for rings, earrings or other jewelry.
Many jewelers provide written notice at the time you purchase a gemstone with a note or code explaining your purchase. it affects your purchase price and will also affect future cleaning and repair as well as covered loss replacement.
Factors that determine a gem’s durability include style, mount and wear, hardness, and toughness. For example, sapphire, ruby and garnet are well suited to active everyday life and are often attached to rings, bracelets or cufflinks.