Silver jewelry is highly prized for its brilliant luster and its ease of fabrication, properties that it shares with gold, a precious metal also used extensively in jewelry. Pure silver, also known as 999 fineness, is quite tarnish resistant, but it is too soft for use in jewelry. Silversmiths often alloy it with other metals, such as copper, to harden it. Sterling silver, for example, is 92.5 percent silver and 7.5 percent copper. Sterling silver is a standard in many countries for silver jewelry and has been since the 14th century.
Recently, silver has benefited from demand for the ‘white’ look in jewelry which mirrors fashionable designs of white gold – an alloy of gold and platinum and palladium – but at a lower price point.
Source: The Silver Institute