sterling silver and copper

sterling silver and copper

Sterling Silver and Copper

Sterling silver is an alloy of silver, meaning other metals are added to silver to give it the desired properties.  Using silvers mass as the measuring tool, 92.5% of silvers mass is actually silver, and the remaining mass is made up of other metals, traditionally it’s copper.  Below are the scientific or chemistry makeup of this vital element.

  • Atomic Number: 29
  • Atomic Symbol: Cu
  • Atomic Weight: 63.546
  • Melting Point: 1,984.28 F (1,084.6 C)
  • Boiling Point: 4,643.6 F (2,562 C)

Coppers History

Copper the word and chemical symbol for the element, Cu, are derived from the Latin word cuprum which oddly enough is the Greek word for the island of Cyprus.  History has shown us that copper has been mined and used for over 5,000 years.

Copper is a shiny reddish-brown metal. It is malleable, ductile and a good conductor of heat. It is second only to silver in electrical conductivity.

Sources of copper

Some copper can be found in a natural state. It can also be found the minerals cuprite, malachite, azurite, chalcopyrite and bornite.  Copper ore deposits are found in the United States, Chile, Zambia, Zaire, Peru and Canada. The most important copper ore are the sulfides, oxides and carbonates.

Raw Copper 

Raw copper isn’t exactly stellar looking. But once purified, it becomes the lovely copper that we consumers see.


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