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 territories.
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 rule of kings Henry VII and Henry VIII.
About the Author: Ashley Shameli, the author of this article, is a director of http://www.purdicejewellery.co.uk and http://www.purdicehome.co.uk . He can be contacted through either of the Purdice websites.