Did you think sterling and pure silver were the same thing? In fact, these are two different materials that differ in appearance, production, care technique, durability and prices.
What are these differences, and which option is better to choose, we will try to understand this article.
What is sterling silver?
The sterling version is a metal alloy. That is, a combination of pure metal with several more. Their addition makes silver much stronger and more durable. This allows you to significantly expand the scope of its application, which includes:
- silver plate;
- plates and dishes;
- coffee sets;
- silver-plated products (the item is made of another metal, and a thin layer of sterling silver is applied on top of the item).
What is 925?
This marking means that the material contains 92.5% white precious metal and 7.5% alloy. The latter most often includes copper and zinc. The “925” stamp must be present on the product; sometimes it is replaced by the “ss” stamp
Sterling vs regular: what’s the difference?
Silver items have long been known as symbols of wealth and prosperity. This is true whether you own a pure or sterling variant.
Silver is one of the elements of the periodic table with the symbol Ag. Pure metal contains in its composition the maximum possible amount of this element, namely 99.9% and very few trace elements. Marking on the product “999”.
It is quite soft and difficult to form properly, making it difficult to make items intended for everyday use. Therefore, such a metal is not usually used for making fine jewelry.
Because of their softness, fine silver pieces are not as durable. They can be easily bent, deformed or damaged.
Sterling silver gets dark
Gases in the air react with the noble metal, resulting in discoloration, fading and the appearance of a «dirty» layer on top of the silverware. Copper, nickel and zinc oxidize easily. When you combine them with another metal, the tarnishing process is faster and easier.
Therefore, sterling alloy darkens much faster than pure metal.
Why sterling silver is more in demand
There are several benefits that may sway you into buying sterling silver items.
The first and most obvious would be cost. The high content of the noble metal makes pure silver more expensive than sterling. However, it still looks as good as it does clean, which means you can get affordable, timeless pieces at a lower price.
The sterling version is much more durable than the pure version due to the addition of additives. Therefore, your decoration will look better for much longer. In addition, it is easier to shape than the soft and malleable pure silver. Therefore, products from it are much more diverse and interesting.
A striking example of this is the jewelry from the Danish brand Pandora, made of 925 sterling silver. They are famous all over the world for their unique design and durability.
You can buy products in Ukraine at Fragola.
How to care?
Pure silver must be handled with extreme care. When cleaning and wearing, do not handle it roughly, otherwise the product will quickly lose its shape.
Both pure and sterling silver must be stored in a dark place, protected from air and moisture.
Use special products for the care and cleaning of silver products. For example, PANDORA polishing cloth.
Each option has its pros and cons. And in any case, the choice is yours.
Use special jewelry care products or take it to a jewelry shop for a professional cleaning. To avoid this phenomenon, store the jewelry in a dark place and avoid moisture and harsh chemicals.
Not always. Pure metal is very soft and does not hold its shape well, therefore it is not suitable for a number of products. For example, jewelry with fine workmanship.
In no case. This marking means “made of sterling silver” and is equivalent to the designation 925. More commonly used in the West.
Most Pandora jewelry is made from 925 sterling silver. Also used gold 14 and 18 carats. Application of special coatings. You can read more about them in the thematic articles on our website.