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Beyond the Material Value of Silver

June 27, 2019 2 min read

Silver necklace and earrings in jewellery box


Silver is one of nature’s noble metals and one of the first metals to be widely used in ancient times. It is often associated with its historical use as a form of currency and as a general sign of wealth, particularly in the last few centuries. In fact, the widespread use of silver vessels and utensils by wealthy families gave rise to the term “blue bloods” as these families’ long term, high level ingestion of silver, along with limited exposure to sunlight, was thought to have led to their bluish-grey skin colour.

But even before these aristocratic associations, its lustrous sheen and silken feel gave it a godly, almost other worldly status. Many ancient cultures linked silver to healing, immortality and protection.  In Ancient Egypt it was connected to the powerful goddess, Isis, and her magical abilities to protect and heal. In Ancient Greece it was connected to Artemis, who hunted with a silver bow and arrow and protected the vulnerable with her qualities of creativity, flexibility and intelligence. While in the Golden Triangle, tribespeople from Thailand, Burma and Laos believe silver offers protection against illness and misfortune by preventing the soul from leaving the body. For this reason, bangles and necklaces are placed on children at birth and upgraded over life. Their belief in the protection is so paramount, that they won’t even take off their silver jewellery in hospital.  

Historically, silver's medicinal properties also gave it a slightly magical status. Almost unbelievably it has been used extensively in medicine for over six millennia to prevent microbial infections. In fact, silver has been credited as the original antibiotic and even today is used today in the form of silver nitrate to help heal wounds. Slightly more unorthodox use of silver was made in the 1600s when alchemists connected it to the brain and the moon, giving rise to the notion of the “lunatic”. Most radically, it was used in the treatment of epilepsy after a patient accidentally swallowed a coin and his seizures stopped. Needless to say this practice doesn't continue today!

Money, mysticism and medicine aside, silver is a beautiful material for modern jewellery which is why Brave Edith specialises in solid sterling silver and gold vermeil jewellery.  Sterling silver is a combination of a minimum of 92.5% pure silver and a small proportion of zinc, copper or palladium. These latter metals are added to improve the hardness of the silver for durability purposes. Gold vermeil jewellery is the highest grade of gold-plated sterling silver. All Brave Edith gold vermeil items are plated with an extra thick hard layer of 2.5 microns, 14 carat gold enabling our plating to last longer. Additionally, the quality of all Brave Edith sterling silver and gold vermeil jewellery is guaranteed by the mark ‘925’.  

View Brave Edith silver jewellery

View Brave Edith gold vermeil jewellery


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