When comparing the different silver products you want to buy, you’ll come across some made of sterling silver. Sterling silver is different from pure silver as it’s alloyed with other metals, mostly copper.
It also has different silver levels and requires unique care techniques. You will buy sterling silver items at a cheaper price than pure silver.
Chemical Composition of Sterling Silver
Sterling silver is a combination of copper (other metal alloys) and silver. It contains 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper or zinc. The metal alloy like copper helps strengthen sterling silver because pure silver is softer.
Characteristics of Sterling Silver
Below are some of the key characteristics of sterling silver that make it unique and so valuable
Sterling silver is stronger because of the metal alloy added to it. Sterling silver products don’t dent or wear easily because of the added strength. This makes the sterling silver products durable, giving you value for your money.
It Tarnishes Easily
The chances of sterling silver tarnishing are higher than pure silver because of the added copper. It can turn black or dark brown when exposed to a humid environment for long.
However, it can’t tarnish when you take good care of it. You can also polish sterling silver to have it in the right shape.
You will spend less money buying sterling silver than on pure silver. It’s also cheaper than other precious metals like gold. This makes it a good alternative to the other precious metals when you can’t afford the expensive ones.
It’s Easy to Shape
The soft sterling silver is easy to shape and design. It gives silver designers an easier time creating different shapes improving their creativity.
Uses of Sterling Silver
Sterling silver is a versatile metal that can be used in different applications. You can use it to make different sterling silver jewelry(bijoux argent sterling qualité)pieces such as bracelets, rings or necklaces. It’s also used to create coffee sets, plates and silverware. Some designers also use it to make silver-plated items and platters.
The Hallmark of Sterling Silver
When buying sterling silver, look for hallmarks like 925, 92.5 or .925. These marks indicate that this is authentic sterling silver and prevents you from spending money buying a fake one. Since the hallmarks are smaller, you need to use light to magnify them.
Note that different countries have different sterling silver hallmarks. For example, in the UK, it’s a stamp of a lion or a town mark. In France, it’s the head of Minerva.
How to Know If an Item Is Sterling Silver
You can conduct different tests to confirm the authenticity of sterling silver products. This is apart from looking for the hallmarks on the item.
You can smell the item to prove if it has sterling silver. If you smell a strong smell from the item, it shows it has a higher percentage of copper than sterling silver.
You can also use strong magnets to test if it’s real sterling silver. If the magnet holds onto the item, that’s fake sterling silver.
It could be polished stainless steel that resembles silver. If you can’t conduct the tests by yourself, consider taking the sterling silver for appraisal by professionals.