History of Sterling Silver

Hello and welcome to my brand-new website! Thank you for finding Bluebell Handmade Jewellery and I hope you will enjoy exploring my range of original designs, handcrafted in sterling and fine silver.


My name is Fiona and I live just outside Belfast, Northern Ireland. A life-long fascination with geology, fossils, crystals and interesting stones eventually led me into the world of silversmithing and creating jewellery pieces, many of which are inspired by all those things.


History of Sterling Silver (from 4000BC....)

Silver is a lovely, pliable precious metal to work with and the history of its use for personal adornments and precious items is known to date back as far as 4000BC. It is too soft a metal to be used for weapons and I see that as a great quality – it’s a lover not a fighter!


The word ‘silver’ derives from an old Anglo-Saxon word, ‘Seolfor’ and it was in 1300, in the reign of King Edward I, that a statute was enacted which required all items sold as silver to contain at least 92.5% silver - hence the 925 we recognise today as sterling silver. Pure silver is alloyed with a small amount of another metal – usually copper or zinc.


There is debate about how the term ‘sterling silver’ came to be and it is suggested that it may have started out as ‘Starling’, meaning ‘little star’ in Middle English, as silver was acknowledged to be the brightest and most reflective of precious metals at that time.



Silver also has anti-bacterial qualities and nowadays is often found in wound dressings, to promote healing and ward off infection.


My own jewellery designs are very strongly inspired by the stunning landscapes, coastlines, geology and wildlife of my home Country. The hand tools and techniques which I use in my workshop are probably not too different from those used by my ancient predecessors and I find that strangely inspiring!


To keep up to date with all of my news and to hear where you can explore my range of unique, handcrafted silver jewellery, please follow me on Insta & Facebook.


And of course you can visit my shop online to start shopping all things silver jewellery.


History of Sterling Silver | Bluebell Handmade Jewellery | 2021