Purity Long Answer
Coins minted over the last 40 years or so rarely have any silver in them. They are a combination of nickel and copper and other common metals. You may be wondering why many vintage coins are less than 100% silver...
Silver at a basic level is a soft metal. Completely pure silver coins didn't stand up to the wear and tear of being in circulation. Pure silver coins are great for rings, but as currency they didn't last long before wearing out. By adding a bit of copper or nickel to the silver, the silver becomes many times more durable. Much more suitable for use as currency, don't you think? There are a couple of exceptions to these rules. For instance, between 1965 and 1970, JFK Half Dollars minted had only 40% silver. Since 1996 the American Silver Eagle mints only as 99.99% pure sterling silver is another example. It is the world standard for silver bullion.
The silver used to make a coin today would be worth more than the face value of the coin. That is because silver is worth more today than ever before. Close your eyes. Imagine what would happen if you could melt a new quarter down for two dollars worth of silver. There'd be no quarters left pretty quick! But older coins made with silver have what "numismatic value." What does that mean? I'm glad you asked!
If you want to buy a silver coin from back in the day, such as a quarter or half dollar. At least, you would pay for the silver's value by weight. You would often pay even more because the coins are becoming more and more rare. But, silver is the perfect metal for making jewelry, especially rings. It is durable, yet with the right techniques silver becomes forged into many shapes with ease.
Silver also provides options for finishes. Silver via a chemical process produces a rich patina with an option of a coating. The coating protects it against tarnishing.
Finally...silver is hypoallergenic. This means people with sensitive skin can wear silver without irritation.
By now you can see why Silver State Foundry works almost only with vintage silver coins. The vast majority of our pieces contain anywhere from 81.7% to 99.9% pure silver, with most made up of 90%+ pure silver. It is important to note that while most of our rings are silver, a few are not. For example, the New Your City Subway Token Ring is brass. And we also make a few copper rings our of 1800s Canadian pennies.
In these instances, we in plain English tell you these rings arenot silver. But, we coat them with a special epoxy for these non-hypoallergenic metals. This is no-cost solution for you because it protects your skin from irritation if you did not have it.