Silver is an ancient metal, with a varied and illustrious past. The elemental symbol is Ag, from the Latin word ‘Argentum’ – meaning white or shining. Discovered sometime around 4000 BCE, silver was first mined in order to make ornamental objects.
In the 11th and 12th century, in what we now call the British Isles, silver pennies were printed with a small star. A penny like this was called a steorling (most likely pronounced like “sterling”) in Old English, meaning “coin with star.” These steorlings were made up of 92.5% pure silver, with an alloy of 7.5% copper, just like sterling silver today.
Silver pennies weren’t always sterling, though; Henry II of England established this standard because those inclined to dishonesty would trim the edges of the softer pure silver pennies and keep the small pieces for later. Sterling silver, still a beautiful precious metal, was slightly more durable and discouraged this shifty habit.
Sterling is no longer used to make coins, but many recognized the advantage of a precious metal that was both beautiful and durable: two traits that are ideal in a favorite piece of jewelry.
creates her beautiful jewelry in a studio in the East End neighborhood of Portland, Maine, a short walk away from breathtaking views of Casco Bay and its collection of islands. Jen comes from a family of artists, and grew up on the coast of Maine where she inherited both an appreciation for art and a strong connection to nature. Jen uses recycled metals and fair-trade gemstones to minimize the ecological impact of her metal-smithing practice.