What is Italian Silver?
What is Italian Sterling Silver? Why Buy Italian Made SterlingSilver Picture Frames & Silver Gifts made from Italy? One word. Trust.
It is nearly common knowledge that Italian Silver is very valuable as each piece is handcrafted by skilled artisans since 1870 when Italy’s government introduced “hallmarking” to identify Italian Silver. Each piece is stamped with a government mark to identify approved Italian Silver. The stamping signifies the purity level of the silver. The highest level is 925. Other levels are identified with as a number over the numerator. Such as 300/1000, 400/1000 & etcetera. Silverstar’s Signature Line has the highest level of purity; 925, followed by the Francesco Moretti (bi-laminated sterling silver picture frames) & Mazzetti weighted silver entertainment & serving pieces (less than 925/1000). The Mazzetti line includes weighted sterling silver serving trays, vases, ice buckets and serving accessories. Jewelry and Gift Stores may special order 925 Mazzetti. Lead-time from Italy for 925 special orders is up to 16 weeks and there are minimums to the order.
Our Silverstar Sterling Silver Picture Frames and Silver Plated Picture Frames are all made in Italy and display markings in accordance to Italian regulations. Each picture frame is marked either 925 or xxs/1000. Picture frames where 925 sterling is bonded to an metal plate for stability are never marked 925 by Silverstar International. Instead these picture frames are marked xxx/1000 and identifies the percent of silver of the product. The industry call this type of product 925 bi-laminated sterling silver. We sell bi-laminated sterling silver picture frames under Silverstar's Franceco Moretti product line. Picture Frames under Signature Product Line of Silverstar are guaranteed 92.5% pure Sterling Silver.
What is meant by the term 92.5% Sterling Silver? An alloy of silver containing 92.5% silver and 7.55% copper or other material. Any solid 92.5% sterling silver item is marked "Sterling" in accordance with Italian law.
What is Bilaminated Silver? A sheet of sterling silver and an alloy (aluminum or other) fused together in the manufacturing process. Our weighted sterling silver Francesco Moretti product line is made with Bilaminated Silver with a tarnish resistant surface. Each Bilaminated Silver item is marked with a silver content formula such as 300/1000 to show it's purity.
A word of caution. In the United States companies have the option of marking Bi-laminated Silver as 925 or the silver formula xxx/1000, Silverstar International- a very conservative Italian manufacturer that has been in business since 1945- marks bi-laminated products to their sterling silver content "xxx/1000". Send a Frame uses a manufacturer that marks their bi-laminated picture frames as 925. Although perfectly legal, the 925 mark I think is somewhat deceptive because the bi-laminated picture frame is never pure 92.5% sterling silver when the metal plate is taken into account.
What is Weighted Sterling? A sheet of 925 sterling silver sandwiched around weighted material. Our Mazzetti Silver Gift Collection is manufactured with this weighted sterling silver manufacturing technique to reduce the silver item's cost to our customers. Weighted sterling silver gifts are marked "Argento", the Italian name for "Silver". * What is Sterling Silver Plated? One silver coating over a metal base. Bianchi Silver products are sterling silver plated with not one but 6 coats. That makes Bianchi very special and unique to the common silver plated that only have one thin coat. Our product will not turn black but will retain the beauty for many years to come.
What is Sterling Silver 925? This is the percentage of silver purity. The purity level of 925 is 92.5%.
Why Mix Copper with Pure Silver that would create sterling silver? Pure silver tarnishes or oxides very quickly that leads an unattractive brown color. When 7.5% copper (or other metal) is used to make sterling silver the process of oxidation slows down. Pure silver is also a soft metal and can bend or break easily. By adding another metal compound the silver gift will last longer. The metal addition also makes silver more durable to make the product into rings, pendants and necklaces.
What is a Silver Hallmark? Any sterling silver product sold commercially is stamped with a silver hallmark that would indicate the purity of the item. Sterling silver hallmarks very from country to country. The Hallmark for Italy's 925 sterling silver items is 925 (or 92.5% sterling silver). If an item manufactured in Italy is weighted sterling silver (less than 92.5$ sterling silver) the hallmark is "Argento". Argento means silver in Italian.
What is Electroplating? This is a common method to apply a microscopically thin layer of protective metal onto a top of the silver to prevent the silver gift from contacting the air. The silver item is placed in a metallic acidic solution an electrical current is applied. A chemical reaction occurs and metallic particles separating from the acid. These metallic particles then attaches to the product being to metal of the silver item and this item is coated with rhodium. Rhodium prevents tarnish but it can also reduce reflectivity. Silver items are usually coated with rhodium, which does prevent tarnish, but tends to slightly reduce the reflectivity and item's silver luster.