Beads are commonly made from Sterling silver which is a silver alloy made up of 7.5% copper, 92.5% silver. Pure silver is designated as 99.9% pure, but this purity tends to make the metal very soft. In jewellery applications, this can mean that delicate work is easily damaged or broken through the slightest of knocks. Adding another base metal to the silver gives it greater durability and strength. Sterling silver has this additional alloy and is only 92.5% silver.
Silver beads are used in almost every type of jewellery, from simple necklaces to modern body jewellery. A silver necklace carries with it an air of sophistication and elegance, particularly if the silver beads are offset with other precious or semi-precious stones or pearls.
Necklaces are not the only use of silver beads in jewellery. Because of the huge range of designs available, they can be used in earrings, bracelets and cufflinks to match a simple but stylish necklace. Silver beads can also be incorporated into all kinds of applications, such as embroidering onto clothing or bags, eveningwear or shoes. Designers across the world continue to be captivated by the myriad of uses that silver beads have in fashion and couture, with the top design houses often including beading in their collections.
Silver has the advantage of being the ‘black’ of jewellery in fashion terms – it goes with practically anything. A delicate, silver bead necklace can casually compliment a simple outfit of jeans and tee shirt. That same necklace can be worn with a cocktail dress with equal flair and finesse. A handful of silver beads, a well-thought out design and a little bit of patience can produce something that is unique and timeless. The best way to begin to incorporate silver beads into your jewellery making is to buy a small selection and let your imagination loose. The results will be uniquely yours and always a favourite part of your jewellery collection, no matter what the occasion