Silver is a whitish metal that can be polished to a silvery shine. It’s ductile so it’s easy to beat it into thin sheets. Silver also has the physical property of being malleable, which means that it’s possible to bend or shape the metal at will. Silver is also an excellent conductor of both heat and electricity. In fact, it has the most electrical and heat conductivity of any metal. This makes it an important metal in many modern industrial applications. Chemically speaking, silver is resistant to oxygen, nitrogen and hydrogen at normal temperatures. A thin layer of silver right at the surface of the metal does eventually oxidize however. Silver is also chemically interesting in that it can form many new compounds and dissolves into many solutions.
The sterling silver standard has a minimum millesimal fineness of 925. Pure silver is relatively soft. To give silver more durability when used in jewellery, it is combined with an alloy to change its physical characteristics. The most common metal with which silver is combined is copper. The composition of sterling silver is 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper.