What Are the Principal Differences Between Pure Silver & Sterling Silver?

difference between pure silver and sterling silver

Silver has been used to make fine jewellery almost since time began, and this amazing natural metal comes in many forms, which happen to include pure silver and sterling silver. If you are new to the mysterious world of silver, here are the basic differences between pure and sterling silver.

Pure Silver

Also known as “fine silver”, pure silver has a purity level of 99.9%, which is very high, and unfortunately, pure silver is far too soft to be used in the making of silver jewellery.

This high-grade silver is primarily used in the making of pure silver ingots, which are then bought and sold by speculators. The minute amount of impurities that are found in pure silver are negligible, of course, yet they are always present, no matter how much you try to make the silver purer.

Fine silver is usually hallmarked with “999”, “99.9”, or simply “.999”, which indicates how much silver the item contains in hundred or thousand parts. There are quite a few silver standards, and here is a list to help you understand silver better.

Sterling Silver

This is 92.5% pure and it is primarily used in the making of silver jewellery, such as silver hoop earrings that can be found at Silver By Mail, which is one of the UK’s leading online sterling silver jewellery retailers that offers stunning jewellery at very affordable prices.

Sterling Silver Plating

Any item that is sterling silver plated is actually a different metal (copper or nickel) and is coated with a layer of sterling silver, therefore the item is not made from sterling silver, rather the outer layer is a thin coating of sterling silver.

The United States Vs. Europe

While generally speaking, sterling silver is 92.5% pure, the US and Europe have slightly differing ideas regarding this. In America, any item that is marked “sterling silver” would be at least 92.5%, yet in Europe, the term sterling silver can have a lower purity value, yet it is still marketed as “sterling silver”.

Beware When Buying Jewellery

Even if an item is hallmarked “sterling silver”, it could have a purity of less than 92.5%, indeed it could be silver plated, which would not be something you would want to buy.

Ideally, a fine item of sterling silver jewellery would be made entirely from sterling silver, and unless you are buying from a trusted jeweller, you should enquire as to the make-up of the item you are planning to buy.

Sterling Silver Jewellery

This is the best form of silver for making jewellery, and any jeweller that sells sterling silver plated items should make it known to the buyer that the item in question, is, in fact, plated with sterling silver.

If you are looking for some sterling silver jewellery for the love of your life, an online search will help you locate a leading online sterling silver jewellery supplier. And after browsing the many fine items, you can make your selection, and with a secure online payment, the item will be dispatched to your home address.

SEE ALSO: 
WHEN SHOULD YOU GIVE JEWELLERY IN A RELATIONSHIP
A GUIDE TO SILVER BRACELET SELECTION FOR THAT SPECIAL LADY
STARTING A SILVER JEWELLERY COLLECTION
pure silver vs sterling silver

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