The Silpada story began in 1991 when two Kansas housewives, Bonnie Kelly and Theresa Walsh, took $25 from their grocery money and began hosting parties to sell sterling silver jewelry. Six years later, they founded Silpada Designs. Today, Silpada Home Shows consistently bring in nearly twice the direct-selling industry sales average. There are more than 450 items of Silpada jewellery currently available. They run the gamut from toe rings to earrings, and include belts, watches and jewellery for men. Sterling silver remains their specialty, often accented with gemstones. Silver has been used for adornment since ancient times. The discovery of the silver mines in the New World created an explosion in demand. In fact, more silver has been used since the late 1700s than in all the previous centuries combined. Silver and gold are still the two most popular metals for jewellery, by far.In its pure form, silver is too soft to be usable. It is combined with other metals to create a stronger alloy. In order to be labeled sterling silver, an item must contain at least 92.5 percent of pure silver. The metal most often combined with that is copper, which is why silver can tarnish. Storing your sterling silver jewellery in treated bags or cloths will not only help prevent tarnish, but will also protect it from being scratched by harder metals. A certain amount of darkening and tiny scratches creates a desirable finish called patina. If you prefer to keep your pieces shiny and new-looking, use a gentle non-abrasive polish specifically designed for silver.