Are you in the market for some new jewelry but wondering whether to go for pure silver or the 925 sterling silver? It can be a tough decision, especially if you don’t know the differences between the two. Pure silver and sterling silver may sound like they’re the same, but they have some significant differences in terms of durability, cost, and appearance.
In this blog post, we’ll explore the differences between pure silver and sterling silver. We’ll also delve into what the “925” marking on jewelry means and why paying attention to it is important.
So, whether you’re a jewelry enthusiast or just looking for a new piece to add to your collection, this blog post will help you make an informed decision about whether pure silver or sterling silver is the right choice for you.
What is pure silver?
Pure silver, also known as fine silver, is the closest form of silver to its pure element state. It is highly valued for its high purity percentage, which is commonly identified by quality stamps such as “.999 FS,” “999,” or “99.9.” These stamps reflect the silver alloy’s actual silver content of 99.9%, with the remaining 0.1% consisting of trace elements of insignificant quality.
However, due to its high purity, fine silver is a soft metal that can easily scratch, dent, or change shape, making it a challenging material for jewelry making. Despite this, its exceptional beauty and luster make it a popular choice for creating unique and delicate jewelry pieces.
What is sterling silver?
Sterling silver is a type of alloy that consists of 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% other metals, typically copper and other alloy compositions. The addition of copper to the silver provides additional strength and durability, making it more stable and easier to work with than pure silver. As a result, many of the silver jewelry items available for purchase in the market are crafted from sterling silver.
Have you ever wondered what “925” means on jewelry?
Sterling silver is a compound made up of 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% other metals, usually copper. The 925 sterling silver markings indicate the actual silver content in the alloy. The addition of copper increases the hardness of the alloy, transforming it into a much more durable material for jewelry making. The quality of sterling silver is often identified by the hallmark stamp of “.925”, “925 STG”, or “92.5”, which allows jewelers to produce intricate and complex designs of jewelry pieces with sterling silver.
Although sterling silver is harder than pure silver, it is still prone to scratches and tarnishing. To prevent this, a layer of plating can be applied using gold to change the color, or rhodium to enhance the safety guard over the jewelry surface. By taking these precautions, sterling silver jewelry can retain its beauty and durability for years.
Why choose silver 925 over pure silver?
The difference between sterling silver vs. pure silver is highly influenced by the following factors:
Cost – When it comes to silver, purity is directly proportional to cost. Real silver, which has a higher purity than sterling silver, is generally more expensive. However, silver 925 is a popular alternative due to its relative affordability. Despite being less pure than real silver, silver 925 retains its beauty and lustrous appearance. Therefore, it is an excellent choice for those seeking an affordable option.
Durability Factor – The added metal alloys in sterling silver makes it significantly stronger and more durable compared to fine silver. This durability ensures that jewelry pieces made from sterling silver can last longer while retaining their design and appeal. Copper is the most commonly chosen metal for creating the alloys used in sterling silver. It offers excellent durability, stability, and longevity, making it a reliable option for creating high-quality sterling silver pieces.
Easier to shape – The design complexity of a piece of jewelry can significantly increase its value. Pure silver is known for being soft and malleable, whereas sterling silver (also known as 925 silver) is much stronger and more pliable. This makes it easier to create intricate and unique designs with 925 silver jewelry. Furthermore, sterling silver is easier to resize, repair, and polish compared to other types of jewelry. And when scratches or scuffs appear, sterling silver can be easily restored to its original luster.
HOW DO YOU KNOW YOU HAVE A REAL 925 STERLING SILVER?
There are techniques that can help you to identify real sterling silver from the fake silver jewelry that is available in the market.
Clean your jewelry – Use a soft white polishing cloth and rub it gently. If you notice any black marks on the cloth after rubbing, it’s a good sign that the jewelry is made of genuine sterling silver. This is because the polishing action removes the oxidized layer that naturally forms on silver over time, revealing the shiny, unblemished metal beneath.
Perform the nitric acid test – Begin by adding a single drop of nitric acid to the surface of the jewelry. If it is authentic, the surface will remain unchanged. However, if the jewelry is made of fake silver or is silver-plated, the area with nitric acid will turn green due to the presence of impurities such as nickel. In contrast, real sterling silver will turn creamy in color when exposed to nitric acid.
Note: Remember to wear gloves and goggles to protect your hand and eyes during the nitric acid test.
Perform a smell test – If you detect an unpleasant odor, it could be a sign that the item contains an excessive amount of copper. True sterling silver should not have any discernible scent.
Perform magnet test – A magnet should have no impact on fine silver or sterling silver. If a piece of jewelry is attracted to a magnet, it is likely not made of authentic sterling silver but rather silver-plated over a base metal.
Identify the quality stamp marking – Determining the authenticity of sterling silver is quite simple, as the markings are straightforward. A genuine sterling silver piece will have a stamp with markings such as “.925”, “92.5”, “925”, “Ster,” or “Sterling Silver” in a hidden area or behind every piece of jewelry.
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In conclusion, sterling silver and pure silver have their own unique characteristics and qualities. Pure silver, also known as fine silver, is 99.9% pure silver and is extremely soft, making it difficult to use in jewelry making. On the other hand, sterling silver is a popular choice for jewelry because of its durability and affordability. It is made up of 92.5% silver and 7.5% other metals, which makes it more resistant to wear and tear.
If you’ve ever come across the number “925” on your silver jewelry, it is an indication that it is made of sterling silver. The number 925 represents the purity level of the silver used in the jewelry, which is 92.5%. This hallmark guarantees that you’re getting the real thing and not a cheap imitation.
When choosing between pure silver and sterling silver, it’s important to consider your needs and preferences. While pure silver is ideal for certain types of jewelry, such as fine art pieces, it may not be suitable for everyday wear. Sterling silver, on the other hand, offers a great balance of affordability, durability, and style.
Overall, both pure silver and sterling silver have their own advantages and disadvantages. But if you’re looking for a beautiful and durable material for your jewelry collection, sterling silver is a way to go!
So, if you plan to add sterling silver to your jewelry collection or want to improve your existing designs, it’s crucial to source from a reputable supplier. It’s equally important to choose a reliable destination known for crafting authentic sterling silver with exceptional quality and sophisticated designs.
One such destination is Thailand, which has a well-earned reputation for producing high-quality sterling silver jewelry. Thailand offers a range of beautiful designs crafted with premium materials. To learn more about why you should source your sterling silver from Thailand, CLICK HERE.
And aside from Thailand, at Deepwear, we can help you connect with several manufacturers of sterling silver worldwide. With our in-house team of jewelry specialists and a large network of sterling silver jewelry suppliers, you can rest assured that you’re getting the real deal. CONTACT US today to get started!
Sterling silver is as real as pure silver. The difference is that it is an alloy of silver and copper, making it more durable and suitable for crafting jewelry. It contains 92.5% pure silver, while the remainder is 7.5% copper. It is also called 925 sterling silver.Is 925 sterling silver better than pure silver? ›
Sterling silver is more easily tarnished than fine silver because of the other metals it contains. While 925 sterling silver is less “pure” than silver, it does not mean it's not good. Sterling silver is a high-quality material that's both durable and beautiful to wear. Read more about hypoallergenic jewelry.Is sterling silver worth the same as pure silver? ›
Since sterling silver has a lower percentage of silver than pure silver, sterling silver is less expensive.What percentage of pure silver is in 925 sterling silver? ›
Sterling silver is the standard of quality for articles containing 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper (and/or other alloys).Is 925 silver good quality? ›
925 Silver. Sterling is the jewelry quality standard in the United States and most world markets. It is an alloy of 92.5% silver. The remaining 7.5% is usually copper though it is sometimes other metals such as nickel.Is there anything better than sterling silver? ›
Argentium sterling silver defies expectations by being closer to pure silver in makeup, yet much more durable than even sterling silver. This makes it the perfect alloy to stand up to the daily wear and tear that a favorite piece of jewelry experiences.Does 925 silver tarnish quickly? ›
Pure silver is not susceptible to tarnish in a pure oxygen environment. However, the copper that is contained in 925 sterling silver may react to the ozone and hydrogen sulfide in the air and cause sterling silver to tarnish. Perfumes, hair sprays, and profuse sweating can also cause a quicker formation of tarnish.What type of silver doesn't tarnish? ›
Pure silver, like pure gold, does not rust or tarnish.Can you shower with 925 sterling silver? ›
In conclusion, while it may be tempting to keep your favorite 925 sterling silver pieces on at all times, it's best to remove them before showering. The combination of soap, shampoo, hot water, steam, and general wear and tear in a shower environment can lead to tarnishing, discoloration, and physical damage.How do you keep 925 silver from tarnishing? ›
Store Your Silver Jewelry in Plastic Bags or Airtight Container. Tarnish happens as a result of silver jewelry being exposed to oxygen and sulfur particles in the air. So, to keep your silver from tarnishing, you can store it in a ziplock bag and other airtight container.
There are markings such as “S925”, “. 925”, and “925”. This gives assurance that the silver is indeed a 925 sterling silver. However, there are some sterling silver that don't have these marks so don't directly assume that the silver is fake if it doesn't have the mentioned markings.
The Fineness Mark shows the precious metal and the level of purity. All sterling silver jewellery would have a '925' hallmark applied which is the numbers 925 in an oval surround.Is 925 silver cheap? ›
925 Sterling Silver jewelry certainly does not come cheap. It requires quite an investment from your side, whether you are buying sterling silver pendants or rings. But it is a worthwhile investment as its value increases with time.Is 925 silver good for everyday wear? ›
Sterling silver jewelry can absolutely be worn every day! In fact, many people enjoy the look of sterling silver because it's understated and timeless. Plus, it's easy to care for and can be worn with just about anything.What's the best quality of silver? ›
Pure silver or fine silver, is the most valuable form of silver that contains 99.9% silver and 0.1% other metals. This type of silver is known for its high luster and lack of tarnish. Fine silver jewelry will usually have a “999” or “FS” mark somewhere on the piece.What is the best quality silver in the world? ›
Fine silver – (99.9% pure) The purest silver on the market. It is extremely soft, is beautifully malleable and solders easily with minimal tarnishing.What metal is better than sterling silver? ›
To summarize, stainless steel offers enhanced durability and a longer lifespan than sterling silver due to its inherent corrosion and scratch-resistance. This makes it better for everyday use, especially for jewellery.Which is better 925 silver or stainless steel? ›
Sterling Silver is considered more elegant than stainless steel, and the jewelry pieces usually have unique finishes. Stainless steel, on the other hand, is durable and stronger than sterling silver.Does water ruin 925 silver? ›
Since 925 sterling silver is almost pure silver, it's likely to have a lesser reaction to water. This means that it's completely okay to get this type of sterling silver wet. Just be sure to dry it off as much as possible after!Why is my 925 silver turn black? ›
Silver becomes black because of hydrogen sulfide (sulfur), a substance that occurs in the air. When silver comes into contact with it, a chemical reaction takes place and a black layer is formed. Silver oxidizes faster in places with a lot of light and high humidity.
While 925 sterling silver can withstand the natural water from a shower, it should never be worn in a swimming pool or any other body of water that is treated, such as a hot tub or mineral spring.Can I shower with 925 silver? ›
In conclusion, while it may be tempting to keep your favorite 925 sterling silver pieces on at all times, it's best to remove them before showering. The combination of soap, shampoo, hot water, steam, and general wear and tear in a shower environment can lead to tarnishing, discoloration, and physical damage.Is sterling silver the highest quality silver? ›
Sterling silver contains at least 92.5% silver while pure silver contains 99.9% of the metal. Pure silver is very soft and is usually used in manufacturing. Sterling silver, on the other hand, is an exceptional choice for jewelry due to its combination of silver and additional alloys that strengthen the metal.What is the best silver for jewelry? ›
Sterling silver is the best type of silver for modern jewelry. It is an alloy of 92.5% silver and 7.5% other metals, such as copper. This combination creates a durable and affordable silver option that is also easy to work with. The additional metals give the silver more strength and resistance to wear and tear.Can you wear 925 sterling silver everyday? ›
Sterling silver jewelry can absolutely be worn every day! In fact, many people enjoy the look of sterling silver because it's understated and timeless. Plus, it's easy to care for and can be worn with just about anything.How do you keep 925 sterling silver from tarnishing? ›
Keep Away from Moisture
Your jewelry may be more vulnerable to tarnishing in water and humidity. Therefore, sterling silver jewelry should be kept in a cool, dry location like a container, jewelry box, or airtight bag. Also, before you put it in the package, all air must be drawn out so that no oxidation can occur.
Clean Silver Jewelry with Toothpaste: A small amount of diluted toothpaste and a soft-bristle brush can do wonders for cleaning sterling silver jewelry. Just make sure the toothpaste is not a whitening formula.What type of silver is best to buy? ›
For investment purposes, you should buy fine silver which has a purity standard of 99.9%, as the price of silver bullion is based on the precious metal content rather than a fluctuating spot price, or current market price, determined by a third party.What is the best real silver? ›
999 silver jewelry is the closest you'll get to pure silver. It's called . 999 silver because it's technically 99.9% pure silver! This type of silver is the highest quality silver you can buy.Who does silver jewlery look best on? ›
If you have skin that is fair with undertones of pink or blue, your skin is cool toned — light or white metals such as platinum, white gold and silver are a perfect match.
Fine silver has a millesimal fineness of 999. Also called pure silver, or three nines fine, fine silver contains 99.9% silver, with the balance being trace amounts of impurities. This grade of silver is used to make bullion bars for international commodities trading and investment in silver.What is the best silver to buy that won't tarnish? ›
Choose high-purity sterling silver that is marked "925" (the standard used to indicate the weight of pure silver in the alloy). While water won't ruin your sterling silver, it may speed up the tarnishing process, so it's best to take jewelry off before you shower, wash your hands, or do the dishes.