If you’re considering buying 925 Sterling Silver and you are new to the jewelry industry, you will no doubt want to know the difference between pure silver and 925 sterling silver. Sterling silver is a popular metal used to make jewelry and other decorative items.
Well, pure silver is not really made up of only silver. It has 99.9% of silver, and a small content composed of other metals such as copper. Sterling Silver, on the other hand, consists of 92.5% silver, and the remaining part consists of copper – mostly copper. This is the reason why Sterling Silver is popularly referred to as 925 Sterling Silver or just 925 Silver.
The reason silver needs to be combined with other metals is that it is very difficult to make great designs with just pure silver, which is very soft and malleable. A bit of hardness has to be introduced, by adding other metals such as copper. That’s why jewelers are capable of making the most intricate and complex designs with 925 Sterling Silver.
Why Would You Need To Learn How To Tell Apart?
Modern 925 Silver Mark 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. What is very important though is not to be duped into buying fake 925 sterling silver jewelry from “unidentified sources”.
This is a serious issue because many jewelers are known to sell fake sterling silver necklaces, rings, earrings and so on. Sterling silver is much cheaper than costlier metals such as gold, and yet, fake imitations of sterling silver jewelry are wildly sold in the market.
For instance, it is common to come across silver plated jewelry that is sold as real sterling silver jewelry. These jewelry pieces have only a minimal silver content and are bound to deteriorate, sooner than later.
A jewelry is considered to be fine silver if it contains 92.5% (or more) of pure silver but pure silver is too soft to be used without another metal. So copper and nickel are commonly incorporated to make up the remaining 7.5%.
On the other hand, Silverplate is different from real silver because only the surface of the jewelry is covered with real silver and the rest of the item is made up of the copper or nickel alloy.
5 Steps To Help You Tell If Your Sterling Silver Jewelry Is Real 92.5
1) The “HALLMARK” Test
Inspect your silver jewelry all around for a mark known as a “hallmark” (you might need a magnifying lens for this). An imprint of the numbers “925” indicates that the jewelry piece contains 92.5% of pure silver. Other marks may be “Sterling Silver,” “Ster” or “Sterling.” Markings are normally found on larger parts of the jewelry piece where they can be engraved.
2) The “MAGNET” Test
Hold a regular magnet above or near your jewelry piece. Pure Silver is not magnetic, so if your jewelry piece is drawn to the magnet, it is not real 92.5 sterling silver or more. Chances are that the alloy your jewelry piece was made has a different composition percentage.
3) The “WEIGHT” Test
Another easy way to tell if your jewelry piece is real 92.5 Sterling Silver is by comparing it to an item of a similar weight that you know is made of real silver. If the weight feels the same, your silver jewelry piece is more likely to be genuine.
4) The “SCIENTIFIC” Test
Here is where you have to pretend to be one of the special guys. Gather around some protective goggles and gloves and wear them. Then add a drop of nitric acid to a small silver part of your jewelry. If it turns green, it is not made of genuine silver. Nitric acid is a chemical with a high copper content, which discolors non-silver items.
5) The “EASY PEASY” Test
I left the easiest for the end. Try rubbing your silver jewelry lightly with a soft, light-colored cloth. If black marks appear on the cloth, the jewelry piece is likely to be genuine silver. Real silver oxidizes when exposed to air; this creates the tarnish that appears on the cloth when it is rubbed.
In Red Nymph Jewelry we are proud of our fine 92.5 Sterling Silver jewelry crafts. That’s why since many years ago we mark ALL of our jewelry pieces with a 925 mark as a proof. Additionally, we are open to all kinds of audits and lab tests as a proof of our quality transparency. For your next silver jewelry order, choose Red Nymph Jewelry.