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3 Reasons You Should Buy Handmade Sterling Silver Jewelry

With an abundance of jewelry available in chain stores, gift shops and even your favorite pharmacy, it is easy to just pick up a $10 charm necklace. But have you ever wondered where it was made, was it made ethically and sustainably and finally, what is the content of the metal used? With more and more reports coming in about high content of lead and/or cadmium in cheap mall jewelry on the shelves in North America, it is time to rethink the consumerism and opt for jewelry that will last a lifetime and beyond.

If the above was not enough to convince you, here are three more reasons to buy handmade sterling:

  1. Nickel – do you have allergies to silver? Nickel is the likely culprit. We ingest small amounts of nickel every day as it is used for plating faucets, in production of our pots and pans etc. About 10-20% of population develops an allergic reaction. The allergy can develop at any age and once developed, person’s immune system will continue to be sensitive to nickel for the rest of their life. There is no cure for a nickel allergy, so the best way to avoid symptoms is to avoid wearing jewelry that contains nickel. But how do you know if there is nickel used in the jewelry you’re buying? Here are some examples to avoid:

• silver plated and silver filled jewelry contains a layer of silver bonded to a base metal, which can be brass, copper or nickel. As the plating wears off, the nickel in the substrate will start irritating your skin.

  • mass produced silver jewelry, usually manufactured outside of North America and European Union. Sterling silver is a silver alloy containing 92.5% of pure silver and 7.5% of other metals. In North American and EU, the added 7.5% is copper as it is hypoallergenic. EU even has a directive prohibiting sales of sterling silver containing nickel. However, there is no such directive in the rest of the world, so nickel is often added to silver alloys as a cheaper alternative to copper. 
  • Unknown provenance of jewelry and components: If not stated, ask your jewelry seller of the provenance of the pieces they sell and their nickel content. Handmade artists know where their silver came from and can answer your questions. 

2.   Sustainability – handmade jewelry is usually made by a single person or a small team that controls every aspect of their production process, from sourcing the best quality materials to adhering to safety standards. Usually made in home studios, handmade artists naturally gravitate towards health conscious practices and environmentally friendly alternatives to harsh chemicals used in mass produced jewelry. As their production grows, handmade jewellers start developing techniques for reclaiming their silver scraps, making their practice sustainable and less wasteful. 

3.   Modern day Maecenas – be arts patron! When you buy handmade jewelry, not only are you investing in a unique, sustainable piece, you are supporting the artist behind the label. 

So, go ahead, find your perfect piece and feel good about your purchase!

Visit: to find your next handmade sterling silver treasure!

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