Silver is one of the most loved luxury metals in the world. Statement silver jewelry never goes out of style and is worn comfortably by men and women of all ages.
Sterling silver jewelry can be customized and designed to your specific desires. Read on to learn some exciting facts about the purity of sterling silver and ways to protect your investment in the metal.
Difference Between Silver and 925 Sterling Silver
Pure silver (also called fine silver) contains 99.9% of the element itself. It is very soft, difficult to shape, and not ideal for everyday use.
Sterling silver is an alloy of silver. It contains 92.5% of elemental silver and 7.5% of copper. The alloy is more robust than pure silver. It can be shaped easily and is less expensive than pure silver. You can comfortably wear sterling silver rings and chains every day.
Another critical difference between silver and 925 sterling silver is durability. When properly cared for, items made from sterling silver can last forever. You cannot guarantee the same about pure silver.
The Silver Jewelry Hallmark System
Hallmark is the purity marking made on the metal. It is also referred to as assay or standard marking. The hallmark system for silver varies from one country to another. The silver hallmark stamps indicate the year of making the piece, the place of making, and the maker. Some hallmark stamps also carry duty stamps.
The 925 Stamp on Silver Jewelry
The 925 Stamp on silver jewelry is an indication of pure sterling silver. The 925 standards are used in the United States and most other countries. If you notice any other number such as 800 or 900, it may indicate a lesser percentage of silver used.
For instance, if a silver chain carries the number 900 on its clasp, it probably contains only 90% silver instead of 92.5% of the sterling silver.
The 925 on jewelry does not interfere with the 7.5% of the other metal used usually Copper. In other words, the metal mixed with pure silver can be copper or steel, and the jewelry can still carry the 925 stamps.
Some silver jewelry might be labeled as silver-plated, which implies the use of a layer of sterling silver to coat another metal. The other metal can be copper or brass. Silver-plated jewelry is cheaper and less durable than items made from 925 sterling silver.
Methods Used to Test Purity of Sterling Silver
Silver articles are expensive. You do not want to be duped into buying cheaper metal from unreliable sources. Use these simple methods to test the authenticity of silver jewelry you own.
Check the inconspicuous corners of your jewelry for 925 on jewelry or 925 ring stamp. The 925 stamp on jewelry indicates that is genuine sterling silver. In case the stamp carries any other number, then it is merely a cheaper alloy of silver.
Precious metals like silver and gold are not magnetic. If your silver jewelry is drawn to a magnet, then it is not authentic sterling silver.
The Ice Test
If you have a silver plate or cup and want to test its purity, place it on a pan. Now place an ice cube directly on the pan and another cube on the silverware. If the ice cube on the silver item melts faster, then it is pure sterling silver.
The Green Mark Test
If your "silver" jewelry leaves behind an ugly, green mark on your skin and sometimes with a foul odor, then that is not real silver. Pure sterling silver jewelry looks elegant and feels very good against the skin.
The Acid Test
Acid test kits for silver are available in the market. Apply few drops of acid to the metal and the color changes. The resulting color indicates the percentage of silver present in the metal.
Do 925 Stamps Apply for Gold Jewelry, too?
The 925 stamps are used to indicate the purity of sterling silver. Sterling silver jewelry that is plated to give a gold finish carries the 925 stamp mark. If you have a doubt please visit a professional goldsmith they will help you.
What is Gold Plated Jewelry?
Any metal such as copper, brass, or sterling silver can be coated with a thin layer of gold. The process is called electroplating. In gold-plated jewelry, the gold coating is negligibly thin and wears off with time.
What is Gold Vermeil Jewelry?
Gold Vermeil Jewelry refers to applying a thick layer of gold to cover the sterling silver beneath. It is a popular trend and is different from gold electroplated jewelry.
The industry requirements for Vermeil are,
- The gold used for coating must be 10 carats or above.
- The thickness of the coating should be no less than 2.5 microns.
- The base metal must always be sterling silver.
Vermeil jewelry is an affordable replacement for heavy and significantly expensive gold jewelry.
Why Does 925 Sterling Silver Turn Black?
Three possible factors can cause discoloration of sterling silver.
- Daily use brings the metal in contact with cleaning agents like soaps, shampoos, cosmetics, perfumes, etc. Sterling silver reacts with these substances and turns black or green.
- Sterling silver reacts with hydrogen sulfide from the air in a process called sulphidation that can cause the blackening of the metal.
- When your skin's PH is more acidic, chances of sterling silver turning clack are high.
Simple Tips to Take Care of Your 925 Sterling Silver Jewelry
- Avoid direct sunlight or excessive exposure to water.
- Store the jewelry in a cloth bag and ensure that no two pieces are rubbing against each other.
- To clean, wipe the sterling silver jewelry with any soft, lint-free fabric.
- For heavier blotches, use lukewarm water with baking soda. If your jewelry has stones, avoid any cleaning agent.
- Do not try any abrasive chemicals or harsh brushes against the metal.
- Follow a regular cleaning routine as overly tarnished silver jewelry becomes difficult to clean.
Sterling silver is timeless. Buy trendy sterling silver jewelry from Safasilver. Safasilver has been in business for over a decade and offers the best quality of 925 jewelry for customers worldwide.