Amethyst has been the most prized member of the quartz family for centuries. This crystalline quartz comes in a variety of shades of purple, lilac, and mauve. Various shades of purple (esp.: deep purple) serve as a symbol of royalty. Experts consider the African amethyst’s royal purple with reddish overtones to be the gem’s finest color. The color “Deep Russian” is the highest grade and exceptionally rare to this day.
Russia was once the main source of amethyst, but near the turn of the 20th Century, new deposits were found in South America. After that the stone became widely available, but not less treasured. The major source of this stone is Brazil. Yet can also be found in Namibia, Zambia, Uruguay, Sri Linka, India, Canada, and the US.
Hardness of 7
Early Greek legends, and its wine-purple color, are associated amethyst with Bacchus, the god of wine. Dionysus, the Greek god of fertility and wine fell in love with a maiden named Amethyst. When the maiden refused the drunken god’s affections, she was turned to quartz. But when the god saw the girl, thus, he was overcome with love and sorrow. He wept upon her statue and his wine-purple tears stained the stone forever. Other legends led to beliefs that amethyst gems kept their wearers clear-headed and quick witted in battle and in business affairs. Assist to healings and addictions of all kinds. It also promotes feelings of love. The legend of Saint Valentine says that he wore an amethyst ring carved in the shape of a cupid. Amethyst beads with their grape purple tints have been associated with love, fertility, and romance long before pink Hallmark cards took February center stage. In fact, there was a legend of Cleopatra and hers as well. She wore a spectacular amethyst ring symbolizing love, light, and life. Some Romans believed she was incarnation of Venus; perhaps it is the reason that Romans came to believe that amethyst beaded jewelry would associate their husband’s devotion. Leonardo Da Vinci wrote that the stone was able to dissipate evil thoughts and quicken the intelligence. There are a lot of spiritual levels to this stone like guidance, communication with angels and psychic abilities. Moses described it as a symbol the spirit of God.
The bicolor of yellow (citrine) and purple (amethyst) quartz gems is an Ametrine. The color of the zones visible within the ametrine is due to different oxidation state of iron within a crystal. The different
oxidation states occur due to there bring a temperature gradient across the crystal during its formation.
History and Legends:
The Anahi Mine in Bolivia is a major world producer of Ametrine. The mine first became famous in the 17th Century when a Spanish Conquistador received it as a dowry on marrying a princess named Anahi from the Ayoreos tribe. Ametrine was introduced to Europe through the conquistador’s gifts to the Spanish queen.
The citrine aids in mediation, relieve tension, disperse negativity, and help eliminate prejudice.
Carbonado, commonly known as the “black diamond” is a natural polycrystalline diamond found in river stream deposits. Its natural color is black or dark grey, and it is more porous than other diamonds. Darker, even shades are more desirable. The presence of numerous inclusions, sometimes-lining cleavages and fractures, results in the black color. Black diamonds have numerous black inclusions; non-included areas vary from light grey to colorless.
By analyzing the hydrogen in black diamond samples using infrared-detection instruments, researchers found that chemical properties of carbonados indicated that the mineral formed in a supernova explosion that took place prior to the formation of our Solar System.
In this sense, Carbonados are theorized to be akin to carbon-rich cosmic dust, likely having formed in an environment near carbon stars. The diamonds were eventually incorporated into solid bodies that subsequently fell to Earth as meteorites.
Black diamonds are used in the industry for drilling and polishing.
Citrine is the yellow or golden yellow variety of quartz. The yellow coloration is due to the presence of iron. It’s the top-selling transparent gem in the yellow to orange range. Its name was derived from the Latin word citrus, meaning “citron” (a fruit closely related to the lemon) Natural citrine is usually a pale yellow, but rare; most citrine in the market is heat-treated amethyst. This stone offers an attractive warm color with a moderate price.
Hardness of 7
Best material found in Russia, Brazil, Spain, and Madagascar
Citrine, daughter to Amethyst “Deep in the heart of a primordial jungle, as my mother cradles in her arms, the sun’s brilliance rays kissed my face and bestowed thought of evil from my mind. Wear me, as a talisman and I will protect your mind, emotions, and intuition into singular harmony”
Popular during the 19th Century. During the Art Deco period to WWI and II, large citrines were set in many prized pieces. Some of these massive and elaborate pieces were made for big Hollywood stars like Greta Garbo and Joan Crawford
Drusy, druse, druzy, drusies, – different spellings but they all means the same. Drusy is formed by the lining the pockets inside geodes. Tiny quartz crystals take form of the color of its material (host) on the surface or within. Some minerals found in this form are: chrysocolla (blue-green color), malachite (green), psilomelane (black), and carnelian (orange red) are a few to name. As the sun shines upon it, these little crystals glitter like diamonds.
Aids in balancing and increasing energy for both your body and aura as well as promoting creativity. Since ages, it has been used to diagnose disease and is believed to enhance natural extrasensory perception abilities.
Diamonds are known as the “king of gems,” the diamond is the most precious and most prized of all gemstones, famed both for its fiery brilliance and for being the hardest mineral on Earth. Its name derives from the Greek word adamas, which means “invincible.” Diamonds are a form of carbon. They form deep within the earth at high temperatures and under great amount of pressures. Pure, colorless diamonds is the most popular but diamonds come in various colors called “Fancy Colored Diamonds”, yellow, brown, pink, green, blue, red, gray, black, depending on the impurities present. There are various cuts and shapes. They first come out in the rough as a cubic shape or pebble and then polished through stages to develop its shape.
The value of the diamond is graded by the 4C’s.
- Clarity- measures the number of flaws or inclusions in a diamond. Yet it is the fingerprint of the stone. (Levels start at Flawless and descend from Very Very Slight (VVS) to Very Slight (VS) to Slightly Included (SI) and Included (I),
- Cut-not the shape of the stone but the quality of the facets
- Color- rated on a scale (Transparent diamonds those created from 100% carbon) D (clear) through Z (light yellow). D is the most prestigious.
- Carat-Weight of the diamond
Hardness of 10 and varies with toughness due to grade of the stone
Diamonds are found all over the world: all over Africa particularly South Africa where they were discovered in the Kimberlite rock back in 1870, Brazil, Australia, Canada, US, and Russia. India and Brazil were the first main producers of diamonds. India is the main polishing center today.
Myths and Legends
The Greeks thought that diamonds could protect against poisons and believed that diamonds were the tears of the gods. While the Romans believed they were splinters of fallen stars. Western culture looks at the diamond as fearless and with virtue. As well as power and wealth due to its value. Also represents eternity and love.
The history of diamonds is one of untold greed, intrigue, and deceit. However not all diamonds are destructive. The Taylor-Burton diamond was sold to finance a hospital in Botswana and the Sancy financed a war in Europe back in the 16th Century. The servant bearing it swallowed the stone when attacked and it was later retrieved from his stomach. The Cullinam I also called the “Great Star of Africa” is now set in the British Imperial Scepter.
Garnets are actually one of the largest families of gemstones and a mineral species that form a group with different chemical compositions. The color of the garnet varies greatly with every color imaginable except for blue. Red is the most common color. The name of “garnet” comes from the Latin for pomegranate, which has bright red, garnet like seeds. Most natural garnets are mixtures of two or more of the following Species:
- Pyrope (a deep red)
- Almandine (dark red to violet purple)
- Spessarite (pale yellow orange, vivid orange & dark brown red)
- Andradite (greens, yellows, & browns) variety-Demantoid (green-yellow)
- Grossularite (greens, yellows, & oranges) variety-Tsavorite (emerald green to yellow green) and Hessonite (orange and leans to pink and cinnamon color)
Hardness is 6 1/2- 7 1/2 and toughness is fair to good
One of the world’s most ancient gemstones. Noah is said to have used a finely cut, glowing garnet lantern to illuminate the ark through the night. Garnets in ancient time were used widely as an abrasive and also set in jewelry. Garnets were thought to heal, strengthen, and protect. Known stimulate success in business. In earlier times, garnets were exchanged as gifts between friends to demonstrate their affection for each other and to insure that they meet again.
Reminiscent of the silvery moon, this stone derives its name from the blue-white sheen. According to Hindu mythology, moonstone is made of solidified moonbeams. Many other cultures also associate this gem with moonlight, and it’s easy to see why. Its internal structure scatters the light that hits it and creates a phenomenon known as aduarescene. The visual effect is like the full moon shinning through a veil of high, thin clouds or the glaciers of ice in the Artic.
Moonstone ranges from semitransparent to opaque. Moonstones come from most widespread minerals on earth called Feldspar. Composed of two species called Orthoclase and albite, the two are intermingled at first and when the mineral cools, the two separate stack in alternating layers, causing the light between the layers to shine with its glow. These stones most often are found in cabochons and carvings. It’s usually colorless, white, or light bluish gray with white or blue adularescence. Other colors include light green, yellow, brown, and sometimes gray to black. Moonstones were a popular use in jewelry during the Art Nouveau movement.
Hardness of a 6-61/2 and the toughness is not as good due to the cleavage.
Main sources are found in India, Sri Lanka, and Myanmar (Burma)
Say to bring good luck and is considered sacred. Many believed that you could see the future if you held a moonstone in your mouth during full moon. The Romans thought that the wearers of moonstones would receive wisdom, wealth, and success in battle
Pearls are treasures from the Earth’ streams, rivers, lakes, seas, and oceans, and they’ve always embodied the mystery, power, and life-sustaining nature of water. Created by a certain shellfish, mainly oysters and mussels. They form when an irritant such as a grain of sand enters the shell. The mollusk then secretes layer upon layer of calcium carbonate, known as nacre, around the foreign body. It is this innate defense mechanism that creates the bead of pearl. It is a compound of calcium and oxygen on the basis of chemical combination.
The best loved gems of all time, pearls–and their modern counterparts, cultured pearls–occur in a wide variety of colors. The most familiar are the white and cream colors. Black, grey, and silver are also relatively common. The body color is often modified by additional colors called overtones, which are typically pink, green, purple, or blue. And some show the iridescent phenomenon known as orient.
Natural pearls (formed as an accident in nature) are harvested from Persian Gulf, The Gulf of Manaar (Indian Ocean), and the Red Sea for thousands of years.
Cultured Pearls- (produced by human intervention and care by one or more nuclei, a shell bead, into a mollusk). Produced mainly on the coasts of Polynesia and Australia.
Freshwater & Saltwater Pearls are Cultured in streams, rivers, and lakes) Cultivated in Japan and China. Freshwater also occur in parts of Europe and USA (Mississippi)
Seed Pearls are pearls that vary in size from a millimeter in diameter to as large as a pigeon’s egg.
Hardness of 2 1/2-4 (very soft and can easily scratched) and toughness is good but variable due to aging, dehydration, and sometimes excessive bleaching during initial processing.
Jewelry care & cleaning
Store pearls separately from other jewels due to the softness of the pearl. Velvet and satin pouches are the best to store them or in a box. Never store in plastic. Plastic can dry out and crack the pearls. For routine cleaning, wipe each pearl individually with a very soft clean cloth dampened with a solution of two warm cups of water with a few drops of mild dishwashing soap like joy. Soaking can cause strands to stretch. Let air dry overnight. Advice not to wear pearls while spraying perfumes and hairsprays. Best to clean after each wear.
People have coveted natural pearls as symbols of wealth and status for thousands of years. In the sixteenth-century Britain, King Henry VIII and his daughter, Queen Elizabeth I (known to be her favorite gemstone), adorned themselves with natural pearls. Royalty throughout Europe and the wealth in Asia wore it. Accordingly to the Roman writer, Pliny, Cleopatra dissolved a priceless pearl earring in her wine and drank it as a testament of love for Anthony. Pearls have long been used for medicinally. They were thought to cure fevers and stomach ulcers. Can bring harmony and stability to the mind, emotions, affluence, and public. Because it was associated with the moon and the moon influences the human mind it is recommended to be worn by those persons who find themselves always in blows.
Prehnites has the feel of water and coastal waters in its velvety translucence, which endear it to cabochon cutting. There are more cuts in cabochon form to capture this yet also cut in faceted style as well. It’s categorized as Quartz. A fairly strong crystal (a hardness of 6-61/2), very resistant to pressures and scratching. The crystal is composed of Aluminum, Calcium, and Silicon with a few specimens containing small traces of iron. Most Prehnites come from volcanic zones and the crystals were actually formed by the result of volcanic activity.
Prehnites are most common for it’s yellow green yet they come in a blue-green and orange. First rare in S. Africa and now found throughout the world.
A Dutch colonel, H. Von Prehn, is credited with discovering Prehnite in 1774 at the Cape of Good Hope in Africa. Early traders nicknamed the gemstone Cape Emerald in hopes of exploiting its green color. Prehnite was the first mineral to be named after a person.
Prehnite is a very protective stone and can protect one on all levels. It strengthens the life force and generally increases and stimulates energy, while at the same time bringing powerful calming energies. It aids spirit communication, meditation or visualization and is a powerful dream stone. Also known as a stone of prophesy which stimulates inner knowing and recognize your true potential within your divine self. It will guide you in fulfilling the potential, even if it is through a mundane life. It eases acceptance of circumstances without allowing for the surrender of your dreams. You can also utilize prehnites for memory. Capabilities to recall your dreams and for healers to use for the stone’s memory skills in aiding with diagnosing patients. It’s ability to awaken your more compassionate and forgiving nature, it helps you to be patient with your more challenging guests. The Prehnite crystals will teach you to let go of old memories that hurt you. If you have been avoiding some painful truth, use this crystal to face, understand and rid yourself of the pain. Your past is a series of events that give you opportunities to learn and grow from not to carry as festering wounds that never heal.
Quartz Cat Eye
The fine inclusions deposited in the stone reflecting light off the fine inclusions running perpendicular to them create an eye of a feline. Other gemstones like Chrysoberyl are most known for the cat’s eye effect. Yet other gemstones carry the same effect but they always need to be referred specifically by the name of the stone.
Quartz with inclusions are found Madagascar, Brazil, South Africa, India, Sri Linka,
Germany, and Switzerland.
Rubellite is a rare variety of tourmaline, come in red color. It is more valuable than any other varieties of the red tourmaline, Rubellite (from the Latin for red) is the name given to the pink and red variety, with ruby red stones the most highly prized. Members of the tourmaline family of minerals have the same basic crystal structure but occur in many colors. Sometimes it is treated with fillers to increase the clarity of the stone. Yet shines brilliantly in both natural and artificial light.
Hardness of 7 1/2
The most desirable stone, is mostly found in Brazil, Madagascar, Mozambique, Nigeria, and Pakistan, and even in the few locations in the US
Legends and Myth:
Pink rubellite is believed to bring love and friendship. It is thought to be the stone with feminine energy. Red rubellite is said to instill courage and strong will power in the wearer. The color of the red is pure seduction. Its components are red, shocking pink and violet–the typical color realm of desire. Natural healers use this rubellite to heal heart and emotions. It also reduces nervousness and anxiety.
A ruby is a pink to blood red gemstone, a variety of the mineral corundum. Other varieties of gem-quality corundum are called sapphires. It is considered one of the four precious stones, together with the sapphire, the emerald, and the diamond. The name ruby comes from Latin word ruber, which mean red.
Prices of rubies are primarily determined by color. The brightest and best “red” called pigeon blood red, commands a huge premium over other rubies of similar quality. After color determines clarity: a clear stone will command premium. All natural rubies have imperfections in them, including color impurities and inclusions of rutile needles known as silk. Cut and carat size also determine the price.
Hardness of 9 on Mohs scale. The ruby and sapphire (corundum varieties) are harder then any other natural gemstone except for the diamond. Also excellent in toughness.
Main Sources are found in from Myanmar (Burma)-the finest quality, Thailand, Madagascar, Kenya, Tanzania, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, and Vietnam,
Ruby has accumulated a host of legends over the centuries. Wearer of an unblemished ruby enjoys wealth and property and is blessed with children. Thought in 15th-16th Century to counteract poison. These gemstones were once thought to restore youth and vitality. In Sanskrit, one of the terms for ruby is “King of Gems” or “lord of the gemstones”. People in India believed that Rubies enabled their owners to live in peace with their enemies. It is the favorite among those in power and those in love, inspiring more emotion then almost any other stone.
Rutiled Quartz (Quartz Cat Eye)
Rutilated quartz, is a type of quartz with needlelike rutile (a titanium dioxide mineral),
embedded in it. Rutile is a common rock crystal inclusion. The rutile needles can be reddish, which is what rutile means in Latin, or they may be golden, silvery, or on very rare occasions, greenish. The rutile inclusions can be
hair-like to needle-like thickness. The needle-like inclusions that resemble straw are the most desirable.
It has been known to represent the hair of Venus and the sweet tipped arrows of Love.... the ethereal aspects of Rutile, when found within another crystalline form, bring strength with love, ease in transition growth in all avenues of ones development, and calm, reason and order. It is stone for stabilizing relationships, marriages, mental processes, and emotional and physical imbalances. It’s also an energizing stone that helps get energy moving on all levels. It’s particularly effective for getting things moving energetically.
Sapphire (Fancy Sapphire)
Like flowers in a garden, the mineral, corundum comes in many colors. Ruby and Blue sapphires represent red roses and blue violets. But beyond these two colors, the fancy varieties of corundum share their hues with lotus blossoms, daffodils, carnations, lilacs, and almost every other shade of blossom and leaf. The more vivid the color the more valuable the fancy sapphire is. However colors may be enhanced by heat treatments to achieve more desirable color or vibrancy. The most rare and valuable is the Padparadscha. Padpardscha must have the distinctive but delicate pinkish-orange sunset/salmon-flesh color in just the right balance and intensity to be considered. Plum sapphire is purple, golden sapphire is a yellow or orangey yellow, and white sapphire is colorless. White sapphires have been substituted for a diamond.
In the 1990s, discoveries in East Africa and Madagascar brought fancy sapphires widespread recognition.
Hardness of a 9
The sapphire has for a long time, been identified with chastity, piety, and repentance. It brings wisdom and truth, increases perception and the understanding of justice. It helps find peace of mind and serenity and promotes a life of sincerity, helping preserve one’s innocence while learning life’s truths. Sapphires also are associated with romantic love, representing fidelity and romantic devotion. I it also used for a quest to increase one’s faith, hope, and joy, and to keep thoughts pure and heavenly.
Shell (Mother of Pearl)
Nacre is also known as mother of pearl, an organic-inorganic composite material produced by some mollusks. It’s strong resilient and iridescent. It’s the inside layer of the pearl oyster shells and freshwater pearl mussel shell are made of nacre.
Smoky Quartz is a popular variety of quartz also known as Cairngorm named after the Cairngorm Mountains in Scotland, where it’s crystals were once found and once prevalent. Its transparent brown color is easily recognized and well known to the general public. Comes in light to dark rich brown and the very dark (almost black), which was popular in mourning jewelry of the late Victorian Jewelry. The commercial market is limited, because there is a rather limited demand for brown gemstones. This variety was sometimes known as smoky topaz in the past due to the color, though the term is incorrect and misleading. Natural smoky quartz comes from many sources around the world. Yet most noted for Brazil, the world’s largest supplier and Pikes Peak area of Colorado, USA.
Smokey Quartz has a hardness of 7 where the it’s very resistant to scratching and has a fairly good toughness. Unusual faceted cuts are often made with this stone and can also be found in traditional cuts as well as cabochons.
Stimulates the cooperation of multiple energies toward a common goal. It is a gentle grounding stone that instills balance and harmony. Ability to transform negative energy and a barrier against it around the user. Also neutralizes negative energy as well as helps the wearer manifest dreams. A mediations stone that evokes effort and makes us able to cope with hard times and cleanses clutter of the mind to bring focus to task and mediation.
A good candidate for the title of “History’s Most Unappreciated Gem”. Some ancient mines that supplied for the royal courts from Rome to China produced Spinels, but they were mistaken and usually confused with better-known stones like ruby and sapphire. Some of the world’s illustrious “rubies” are actually Spinels. One is the Black Prince’s Ruby, the central stone of the British Imperial State Crown that traces back to the 1300’s. Today, fine red spinel is more rare than ruby but less valuable. Spinels come in a range of colors that include: violet, blue, orange, red, pink and purple. This stone comes in vivid deep rich colors that rival with other valuable stones.
Legend: It was used in the 18th Century to find out if one had supernatural powers. Mistaken for ruby and sapphire spinel played a major role in the books of myth, history, wisdom, the zodiac scheme or the relation between planets and mankind. Under its own name, being definitely an underrated stone, it produces only blank pages in those magic books.
Tahitian Pearl come from the warm waters of the South Sea and are grown in a Black-Lipped oyster. They are the only pearl to achieve a black body colour naturally and are typically very large . Tahitian pearls although mostly dark can come in a wide range of hues, including black, gray, silver, green, blue and purple.
So even before the secret of pearl cultivation was discovered, the Tahitian pearl has earned a reputation for value and rarity. This reputation was further enhanced by its use in the jewelry of the world’s royalty and nobility. The Tahitian pearl became known as the “pearl of queens and queen of pearls”.
The pearl oyster was offered to man by Oro, the god of peace and fertility, who came down to earth on a rainbow. Some say that Oro offered the pearl front this oyster to the beautiful princess of Bora Bora as a sign of his eternal love.
The name “Topaz” is thought to come from the Sanskrit tapa, meaning, and “fire.” The stone occurs naturally in a range of exceptional wide range of colors and is also heat-treated (continue what nature didn’t finish) to produce the most popular hues. Natural Pink are rare yet most pink topaz is heat-treated yellow material. Much colorless topaz is irradiated and heat-treated to a range of blues. There are various tones and saturations of all colors imaginable. The Imperial topaz (medium red-orange) is the most expensive color. Red is the most valuable color of topaz. Blue is the most common and recognized.
Hardness of 8. Toughness is poor due to cleavage
The ancient Greeks believed that topaz gave them strength. In Europe, during the Renaissance people thought that topaz broke magic spells and dispel anger. And for centuries, many people of India believed that one who wore the stone above their heart assured long life, beauty, and intelligence.
The shining green tsavorite is a young gemstone with a very long geological history. Tsvarorite is transparent green variety of the garnet species known as grossularite. Its color ranges from light to dark and always has an intense vivid green color or yellowish-green. The fact that it is generally untreated makes it an exotic high quality alternative to emerald. The emerald green color is the most prized and rare. You’re likely to see Tsavorites in small sizes yet it displays great luminosity. It’s very rare to find a Tsavorite larger then 5 cts.
It’s home is the East-African bush land along the border between Kenya and Tanzania. There near the world famous Tsavo National Park where the habitat of the African wildlife lives. To honor the park, the former president of Tiffany & Co, Henry Platt who followed the developments of the gemstone, proposed the name “tsavorite”.
Hardness of 7-7 1/2 and the toughness if fair to good
The name “grossular” is derived from the botanical name of gooseberry and its color.
Of the three precious metal-gold, silver, and platinum- it is the rarest and the most valuable. The color of gold depends upon the amount and type of impurities it contains. Gold purity is defined by the proportion of pure gold metal present, expressed as its carat value. Gold starts with 9Kt, 14Kt, 18Kt, 22Kt, and 24Kt. The closer to 24Kt the richer the color is. 24 Karat is the purest and very soft. To increase the hardness of the metal alloying pure gold with harder metals. This helps the metal to be scratch resistant. Always containing gold, certain alloys can give a certain tinge of color to the metal.
A golden rich yellow color and varies in shades depending on purity of pure gold. The richness of 24Kt gold is extremely vibrant in its glorious yellow color. And the vibrancy is less as more alloys are added to the yellow. Silver, copper, and zinc are the ingredient alloys used.
A white color that is gold with alloys of zinc, copper and nickel or palladium. Nickel and palladium are the ingredients that will whiten the gold. Also plating white gold with rhodium gives it a white finish.
A rosy pink color that has the alloys of silver and increase amounts of copper. Copper is the main key ingredient that gives the gold that rosy pink.
Rose gold is a very popular choice of metal for jewelry.
Compared to gold and silver, platinum is a relatively recent discovery. Platinum is one of the strongest and most durable of all metals. Chemically inert and resistant to corrosion, platinum does not tarnish when exposed to the atmosphere, unlike silver. It is silvery gray, gray white or white in color, opaque, and has a metallic luster. Plating platinum with rhodium gives it a white finish. It is slightly more dense than pure gold and about twice as dense as silver. Is a very soft metal because of its purity? Because of the softness of the metal, this metal often has to be polished due to scratching. Once bent this metal tends to stay in position. Most ideal to have stones set in this metal due to having superior holding power. Mixing platinum with different members of its group (osmium, palladium, rhodium, ruthenium, and iridium) can be harder than platinum alone. Ruthenium or iridium is the mostly often used as the alloy for platinum.
Sterling silver is by far the most popular silver alloy in the world. Pure silver is lovely and luminous, but too soft and easily damaged to be as versatile as its alloys. Silver contains mostly 92.5% silver the rest is often the alloy of 7.5% copper. This makes it stronger and harder than pure silver. And ideal for jewelry. Also alloyed with other metals or given a coverage layer of gold to keep the silver from tarnishing its surface.