Recently, Ebay was flooded with cheap imports of children's Tibetan silver children's charms at crazy prices. A test was performed which has received a geat deal of publicity. The pieces tested were found to contain as little as 1% pure silver. Now, Tibetan silver traditionally, can contain as much as 99% pure silver, so these unscrupulous sellers have maligned the name "Tibetan Silver."
Generally in today's market, Tibetan silver contains approx 30% pure silver, and the delightful styles and affordable prices make it a very reasonable proposition.
People often ask me, "what is Bali Silver, Mexican Silver, Miao Silver etc.?"
Bali silver is usually quite safe to buy though some ebay sellers have done a "Tibetan" on Bali silver as well. If prices seems ridiculously low, then it's probably not Bali silver at all, which is generally good quality sterling silver. Buy from a well known supplier, and you will get 92.5% sterling silver.
Sterling silver is, of course, 92.5% pure silver. It is popularly used in baby jewelry and children's jewelry as well as jewelry for adults. 100% pure silver is not a viable product for jewelry, especially children's jewelry, because it is too soft. It is easily dented, scratched and bent out of shape.
Some years ago, I ordered some Miao Silver jewellery. This traditional craft of Northern China and nearby Central Asian countries contains approx 30% silver. Designs are beautiful and prices are affordable.
I've been receiving emails from Mexican suppliers regarding Mexican baby bracelets and children's earrings. I have little knowledge of the content of Mexican silver, but from my recent research, it can be dubious Mexican silver can be sterling silver, or it can contain only 30% (same as regular Tibetan silver) or it can be made from as little as 10% silver. What to do?
For the moment, I am avoiding Mexican silver until I know more about it, and find a reliable, well recommended supplier, though some of their designs are very desirable!