Silver and Sterling silver are words that are often used to each other, but they are not always the same thing. Let's see how silver jewelry marked with silver is different from things made of pure silver
What Is Pure Silver?
Pure silver, also called fine silver, contains 99.9% of the actual silver. Due to its high purity, fine silver is very soft to use in making
jewelry, and it often makes it difficult to assemble with other metal to make it harder.
What Is Sterling Silver?
Sterling silver made of an alloy when copper is added to pure silver so that the resulting area becomes more durable and less soft.
Typically sterling silver has a correctness 92.5%, which means that 7.5% of the alloy is made of copper or any metal like nickel or zinc.
There is also the so-called coin silver, which is alloy of low purity usually it is 90% or less silver
Silver, Sterling Silver, and Tarnishing
Although sterling silver is more durable than pure silver, extra metal in alloy make sterling silver more potent to defame
This is because, in sterling silver, copper, nickel, zinc or other mixture can reach in the air of oxygen and other elements.
Sterling Silver and Plating
Often sterling silver pieces are plated with a thin layer of pure silver to improve the brightness of the piece.
Occasionally you can sell one item as "Sterling Silver Plated". This often means that the piece is actually made of nickel, copper or another metal, not silver, and is simply plated with a layer of sterling silver, which will wear off after some time
Recognizing Fine Silver and Sterling Silver Marks
Fine silver is stamped with marks such as 999, 99.9 or .999, indicating how much silver the piece contains per hundred or thousand parts.
Sterling silver made in the U.S. is marked 925, .925 or 92.5. Jewelry with lower purity is not considered sterling silver by U.S. standards.
For example, German silver may have silver content as low as 80%. Russian silver may also have purity lower than 90%.
More Info: Sterling Silver Handmade Jewelry