Brenda, if you order your metal from a catalog, it usually lists the
alloy content. Rio Grande sells CDA Alloy #752, which is 65% copper,
17% zinc, and 18% nickel, and of course contains no silver
whatsoever. However, it has a decent silver color which, in my
experience, improves with hard wear, even though it will never have
that wonderful glow which sterling has. Silver solders work well
with it, and it reticulates nicely. It is intrinsically stiffer than
brass or copper, i.e., no amount of annealing will ever make nickel
silver as soft as copper.
Have fun with it!