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Difference Between Pure Silver and Sterling Silver

Difference Between Pure Silver and Sterling Silver

A question we often get asked, we thought it would be beneficial to address and educate about the metal we heavily use in our jewelry. At Veatge, we are incredibly transparent about what metal we use in our jewelry and education around it. One must always know a few critical things about silver metal before making a purchase.

IS STERLING SILVER REAL SILVER?

Sterling silver is very much real silver when it comes to jewelry; it will last a lifetime until you break it. It is almost impossible to find pure silver jewelry made with 99.9 percent silver in it because it is much softer than sterling silver and is not practical to wear as everyday jewelry.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PURE SILVER AND STERLING SILVER?  

Similar to 14 or 18-carat gold, sterling silver is an alloy consisting of 92.5 percent pure silver and 7.5 percent other metals such as copper, zinc, germanium or platinum. You can also find jewelry made with 95 percent silver, which is higher in cost. The remaining 5 or 7.5 percent is usually copper because it has been found to be the best metal to alloy with the silver to not discolor it during the hardening process. The purpose of the alloy is to harden and strengthen the silver. The authentication symbol of sterling silver is its hallmark which says “925”. One must always make sure to check for the hallmark sign before buying silver. Because sterling silver is an alloy, it will tarnish when it is exposed to oxygen. It is not a defect in the material but rather a chemical reaction with sulfur particles in the air. You can easily restore its original shine by gently polishing it with the silver polishing cloth.

     sterling silver = 92.5% pure silver + 7.5% copper or other metal 

     pure silver = 99.9% pure silver

Pure silver, on the other hand, which is also referred to as fine silver is usually 99.9 percent pure, but it is incredibly soft and unsuitable for making jewelry. Most jewelers do not work with pure silver because it can break or bend easily. People who like to invest in pure silver collect silver coins or a thick silver bar called silver ingot.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN STERLING SILVER AND PLATED SILVER?

Sterling silver is at least 92.5 percent pure silver. Silver plated items are less valuable and less expensive because they only have a skin of silver on it; the inside is made of copper brass or other metals that are less expensive than silver. It also has a short life because the silver coating wears off.

At Veatge we DO NOT silver plate any of our jewelry. The base for all our jewelry is solid 925 (92.5%) or 950 (95%) silver. We go above and beyond for sourcing the best silver for our jewelry.

Any questions or other facts we should know about, we'd love to know, please email us or leave a comment below.

Comments on this post (2)

  • Jan 13, 2018

    Thank you….. I have learned a lot from page!!

    — Jenny Boen

  • Oct 10, 2017

    That’s an awesome blog, I learned so much reading it.

    — Charlotte

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