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Why We Call Silver Jewellery Sterling Silver

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Old February 6th 08, 08:01 AM posted to rec.crafts.beads
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Default Why We Call Silver Jewellery Sterling Silver

We receive several enquiries each month, generally from existing
customers, asking about the origins of the word 'sterling'.

I suppose most of these people have had a quick look over our small
library of interesting silver jewellery facts but missed our brief
article on the topic.

To discover the origins of the word we must go back hundreds of year
in time to medieval England and the modern-day United Kingdom

A form of currency was necessary for the ever-increasing levels of
trade. Easterlings were one of these currencies, and were quite simply
silver coins smelted and marked with their value based purely on their
silver weight.

Sterling or sterlings was the abbreviation for this commonly used
tender - and to this day the word remains in use all over the world.

As a brief side note of some interest easterlings were valued purely
by their weight but over time monarchs debased this silver currency by
adding additional alloys and removing a small amount of silver. This
resulted in devalued coins as although their weight remained
unchanged, the total level of silver in the coins was reduced.

Many historians suspect this was one of the key reasons for rapid
inflation rates under the



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