FAQ: STERLING SILVER


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Sterling silver is a beautiful, lustrous metal that's perfect for making jewelry, tableware, and other decorative items. But what exactly is sterling silver? How do you care for it? And what are some of the most common questions people have about it?


Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions about silver.



What is Sterling Silver? What is Sterling Silver Made Of?



Sterling silver 925 is an alloy of silver containing 92.5% by weight of silver and 7.5% by weight of other metals, usually copper. The sterling silver standard has a minimum millesimal fineness of 925.



What is 925 on Silver?



The 925 sterling silver stamp means that the jewelry consists of sterling silver.  The 925 sterling silver stamp stands for the purity of the silver alloy, which is 92.5%.



What Percentage is Sterling Silver?




Sterling silver 925 is an alloy of silver that contains 92.5% by weight of silver and 7.5% by weight of other metals, usually copper. The sterling silver standard has a minimum millesimal fineness of 925.



Is Sterling Silver Real Silver?



Yes, 925 silver is a real silver, but not pure silver. 925 silver consists of 92.5% fine silver and 7.5% alloy metals (usually copper).


Although the silver is not 100% pure, it is the closest that you can get to pure silver without being too soft for jewelry use.



Is Sterling Silver Pure Silver?



No, sterling silver content is not pure silver since pure silver is 100% silver with no added metals.



Is Sterling Silver Solid Silver?



No, solid silver is a different metal than sterling silver. Sterling silver is an alloy of silver and other metals, typically copper. The addition of these other metals gives sterling silver strength and durability, making it ideal for use in jewelry and other household items. While solid silver is soft and easy to scratch, sterling silver is much more durable and resistant to wear and tear.


Solid silver is also known as "999 fine silver" and it is stamped silver with a 99.9% purity mark.



What Does 999 AG Mean?



Ag is the elemental symbol for silver on the Periodic Table of elements. The 999 is the purity mark. So, 999 pure silver denotes fine, almost pure, silver. 999 pure silver is sometimes also called "three nines fine" silver. 



What's The Difference Between Silver and Sterling Silver?




One difference between silver and sterling silver is that pure silver, often known as 999 fine silver, has a purity of 99.9 percent silver and 0.1 percent other elements. Solid silver is incredibly soft and malleable, losing form and wearing out as a metal for jewelry use. To address this problem, jewelry manufacturers combine silver with alloys to produce a stronger metal.


Sterling silver is a type of alloy that includes 92.5 percent pure silver and 7.5 percent other metals, such as copper, nickel, or zinc. Another difference between silver and sterling silver is more robust than solid silver and is perfect for jewelry use.


For example, if you have a pure silver chain, it will be unwearable because it will quickly bend out of shape and break. However, if you have a sterling silver chain, it will be much stronger and more durable because it contains other metals such as copper.



Which is Better Silver or Sterling Silver?



There are pros and cons to both pure silver and sterling silver. Pure silver is a softer metal that is more susceptible to scratches and dents. Sterling silver content is harder, so it is less likely to be damaged; sterling silver will tarnish over time, whereas pure silver does not.

 


How Durable is Sterling Silver?




925 silver is a fairly durable metal and can withstand a fair amount of wear and tear. With proper care, your sterling silver jewelry should last you a lifetime.



What is S925 Silver?



S925 silver is an alloy made of 92.5% silver and 7.5% other metals, usually copper. S925 stamped silver is real sterling silver a.k.a .925 silver. 


Is Sterling Silver Hypoallergenic?




Yes, sterling silver is considered hypoallergenic. This means that it is unlikely to cause an allergic reaction in people who are sensitive to other metals. Sterling silver is a popular choice for jewelry and other items that come into contact with the skin because it is less likely to irritate skin.


If you are sensitive to nickel, you may still react to sterling silver if it contains trace amounts of nickel. If you are concerned about nickel sensitivities, look for nickel-free sterling silver jewelry. You can also ask a jeweler if they can special order nickel-free sterling silver.



Does Sterling Silver Have Nickel in It?




Sterling silver is 92.5% pure silver, with the other 7.5% of the alloy made up of different metals, typically copper. However, sometimes trace amounts of nickel exist in the alloy, which can cause skin reactions in some people. When people say they've got allergies to sterling silver, it's more likely that the allergy is to the silver's nickel rather than the silver itself.



What Happens if I'm Allergic to Sterling Silver?




If you're allergic to 925 silver, you may experience a rash, itchiness, or swelling. Discontinue use and see a doctor if you notice these symptoms after wearing 925 jewelry.



Will Sterling Silver Tarnish?




Yes, sterling silver can tarnish over time. The alloys in sterling silver react with oxygen and moisture in the air to form a thin layer of tarnish on the surface of the metal. This process rapidly accelerates by exposure to chemicals, such as bleach or sulfur, and extreme temperature changes.


Tarnish appears as a dark discoloration on the surface of the silver and can make jewelry look dull and lifeless. To prevent or remove tarnish, clean your sterling silver jewelry regularly and store it properly when you're not wearing it.



Does Sterling Silver Tarnish Easily?




One of the most common questions about sterling silver is whether or not it tarnishes easily. The answer is yes and no. Sterling silver metal will tarnish over time, but it is also very easy to clean and care for. With a little bit of effort, you can keep your 925 jewelry looking new for many years to come.



Will Sterling Silver Fade?




Sterling silver is usually coated with rhodium, a precious metal that gives sterling silver a bright, shiny finish and helps to prevent the sterling silver from tarnishing. However, the rhodium coating can wear over time, and the sterling silver will start to show signs of wear.



Does Silver Rust?




Although sterling silver jewelry pieces do not rust, they can tarnish or corrode over time. Sterling silver reacts with oxygen, resulting in the color of silver dulling, fading, and other issues. These reactions, however, will not affect the chemical composition of your items and may be removed.



Can Sterling Silver Turn Green?




Sterling silver metal can turn green for several reasons. If you're wondering why sterling silver makes your skin green, here are five likely causes:


1. Humid Weather

If you live in a humid climate, the sterling silver will absorb moisture from the air and cause a chemical reaction with the copper in the metal. This is more likely to happen during the summertime causing skin discoloration.


2. Chemical Products

Many products, such as lotions, hair sprays, perfumes, deodorants, and soaps, contain chemicals that can cause your silver goods to tarnish. In addition, some body oils can also speed up the tarnishing process.


3. Low-Quality Jewelry

Poorly made sterling silver jewelry is more likely to turn your skin green. However, if the silver is not mixed correctly with other metals, it will be more prone to tarnishing and the color of silver changing. When sterling silver contains a high level of copper, it's more likely to turn your skin green.


4. Type of Base Metal

Different types of base metals may also play a role in how your skin will react to sterling silver. For example, if you have a nickel allergy, the presence of nickel in the sterling silver will likely cause irritation, redness, and swelling. It can also lead to green discoloration on the skin in some cases.


5. Sweat

Your skin's natural oils and the presence of sweat can also lead to green discoloration. When sterling silver jewelry comes into contact with sweat or natural oils, it can cause a chemical reaction that causes the silver to change color.


It's all thanks to a process called oxidation. When exposing the sterling silver to oxygen, it tarnishes and turns black. But when exposed to water or moisture, it can turn your skin green.


The good news is that this reaction is temporary and will go away.


How to Prevent Sterling Silver from Turning Your Skin Green?



The best way to prevent sterling silver from turning your skin green is to keep it clean and dry. When not wearing the jewelry, store it in an airtight container. You can also try coating the jewelry with clear nail polish. This will create a barrier between your skin and the sterling silver and help prevent tarnishing.


You can also try wearing your sterling silver jewelry less often. If you find that the jewelry is turning your skin green, take a break from wearing it for a few days. This will give your skin a chance to recover and allow the jewelry to air out.


If you have sterling silver jewelry that has turned your skin green, don't panic. The discoloration is temporary and will go away on its own. You can also try using a gentle soap and water to clean the jewelry. If the discoloration persists, you may need silver polish or a jeweler's cloth to remove it.



Can You Get 925 Sterling Silver Wet?




You can get your sterling silver wet, but it's not a good idea. Remember, there is no such thing as silver waterproof jewelry. You should avoid immersing your 925 sterling silver jewelry in water to prevent harm to your piece's shine caused by hard minerals in the water supply.



Does Sterling Silver Tarnish in the Shower?



It's a common question and has a bit of a complicated answer. On the one hand, yes, sterling silver can tarnish in the shower. However, it all depends on the water quality in your area and how often you shower, and what kind of products you use. Keep in mind that no such thing as silver waterproof jewelry exists.


If you live in an area with hard water, your sterling silver is more likely to tarnish because hard water contains minerals that can react with the silver and cause it to darken. Likewise, if you shower multiple times a day or use harsh products like body scrubs, this can also contribute to sterling silver tarnishing.


So, while 925 sterling silver can tarnish in the shower, there are a number of factors that play into it. If you're concerned about your jewelry staying shining and bright, try taking a few precautions, like using distilled water to rinse off your sterling silver after showering.



What is the Difference Between Silver Plate and Sterling Silver?



Sterling silver is the standard for beautiful high-quality silver jewelry. It's over 90% pure silver, mixed with alloys to add strength and durability. A silver plate is a very thin layer of actual silver applied to a base metal.


Hence, you will need to re plate silver every few years. Then, whenever you re plate silver, it will add a new layer of silver on top of the existing one and improve the shine and durability.


What is the Difference Between Rhodium-Plated Silver Vs. Sterling Silver?



When you rhodium plate silver, it is a process that covers the sterling silver with a thin layer of rhodium. Rhodium plated 925 sterling silver is brighter and more resistant to tarnish. Sterling silver is a naturally soft metal, but rhodium plated 925 sterling silver is more resistant to scratches. This is why dipping jewelry in rhodium is so popular.


Rhodium plated sterling silver is also more expensive than regular sterling silver because rhodium is a precious metal. Rhodium is part of the platinum family and is very rare. Although affordable, dipping jewelry in rhodium will cost more than plating jewelry in gold.


The rhodium dipping cost is usually minimal, and it will protect your jewelry from tarnishing. Rhodium is a precious metal, so it will also add some value to your pieces. The average rhodium dipping cost ranges from $10 to $150 for larger pieces.


You must also rhodium plate silver every few years as it wears off. Unplated sterling silver will eventually develop a patina, which many people actually prefer. So if you're debating between the two, it really comes down to personal preference.



Does Rhodium Over Sterling Silver Tarnish?



Rhodium is a precious metal that is often used to plate other metals, including sterling silver. Rhodium plating can make jewelry more lustrous and resistant to tarnishing. However, rhodium-plated sterling silver will still tarnish over time, though it may take longer than unplated sterling silver.



What is the Best Way to Clean Sterling Silver at Home?




You can clean sterling silver jewelry with several different at-home methods. One way is to use a simple mixture of one teaspoon of all-natural dish soap in a cup of warm water. This solution is a great tarnish remover for silver. Submerge your sterling silver jewelry in the mixture for 15 minutes, then rinse and air-dry on a soft, cotton towel. It is best to always use an at-home tarnish remover for silver, as abrasive chemicals can damage the metal.



How to Store Sterling Items at Home



Here are a few tips on how to store your sterling silver jewelry so it doesn't tarnish:


1. The best way to store silver is in a cool, dry place, away from extreme temperatures or humidity, to protect it from tarnishing. Extreme temperatures can cause the silver to warp or crack. At the same time, humidity can cause the silver to corrode. Hence your silver storage should be in a place with little temperature or humidity fluctuation.


2. If you must store your silver in a humid environment, consider placing it in a zip-close bag with a packet of silica gel to help absorb moisture and prevent tarnish. You can also try anti-tarnish bags for sterling silver, which are very effective. Anti-tarnish bags for sterling silver contain a chemical that helps prevent tarnish.


3. Your storage for silver should be in a dark spot away from sunlight, as sunlight speeds up the tarnishing process. The sunlight is bad for silver because it contains sulfur, which can cause the silver to dull or discolor. Heat can also distort color in some gemstones.


4. The best way to store silver jewelry is in an airtight container. Keeping silver in airtight containers will help protect it from the elements and prevent tarnishing. For example, when you expose silver to air, it oxidizes and tarnishes. The oxygen in the air causes a chemical reaction with the silver that discolors the jewelry.


5. Always keep silver items separated from each other in their own compartments.

Pure silver is an element, and it is a soft metal. To make it harder, even sterling silver, which is 92.5% pure silver, has another harder metal combined (typically copper) to make it harder.


Since silver can easily get scratched or dented, you must handle it carefully. That includes arranging your silver storage, so items don't bang into one another while in storage.



Is Sterling Silver Worth Buying?




Sterling silver is a good choice if you're looking for a durable metal that won't tarnish. However, it's important to note that sterling silver is prone to scratches and dents. You'll also need to take extra care when cleaning sterling silver to avoid damaging the finish.



What is Gold Bonded Sterling Silver?




Gold-bonded sterling silver is an alloy of sterling silver and gold. The gold content is usually about 10% but can range from 5% to 20%. Gold-bonded sterling silver is more tarnish-resistant than sterling silver and has a beautiful, warm luster. It's perfect for jewelry worn often or for pieces that you want to have a bit more of a gold look.


Gold-bonded sterling silver is made by bonding a layer of gold to sterling silver. The bond is created by heat and pressure, and the result is a single piece of metal with sterling silver and gold properties.

  


How Long Does Gold Over Sterling Silver Last?



Gold-plated sterling silver jewelry is a beautiful and affordable option that can last for many years with proper care. However, it's important to note that the gold plating on sterling silver is not the same as solid gold jewelry.


The gold plating on sterling silver jewelry can eventually wear away, exposing the silver beneath. This process is accelerated by exposure to water, chemicals, and cosmetics.


With proper care, though, gold-plated sterling silver jewelry can last for many years.  


Can You Rhodium Plate Silver?




Yes, you can rhodium plate silver. Rhodium is a metal used to coat other metals and give them a high-shine finish. It's often used on silver jewelry to prevent tarnishing and give the jewelry a brighter appearance.

  


Which Silver is Best for Rings?




Obviously, silver engagement rings are uncommon. Silver engagement rings are unpopular because silver is considered a "precious metal" like gold, platinum, and palladium. It's not as precious as those others, but it's still pretty darn precious. Silver is also abundant in the Earth's crust, so it's not quite as rare as some of the other metals.


But, when it comes to everyday rings, that is where silver excels. Silver is a fantastic metal for everyday rings because it's affordable, looks great, and doesn't require much maintenance.


For rings, we especially recommend sterling silver as it is a durable metal that can withstand everyday wear. Plus, 925 sterling silver rings are less likely to cause an allergic reaction than other types of alloyed silver. 925 sterling silver rings also have a brilliance and luster that will last a lifetime with proper care.

  


Is Platinum Plated Silver Good?




Platinum-plated silver is a good option if you're looking for a durable piece of jewelry that won't tarnish. However, it's important to note that the platinum plating on silver will eventually wear off over time. The platinum plating on silver jewelry typically lasts 12 months before it begins wearing off. This type of silver is also more expensive than other types.

  


Can You Wear Sterling Silver all the Time?




Yes, you can wear your silver goods all the time as it is a durable metal. However, you should clean it regularly and store it in an airtight container when not in use. You may also want to avoid wearing it in water or humid conditions to prevent tarnishing.

  


How Do I Tell if Silver Is Real?




How to tell real silver:


Real sterling silver will feature a "sterling" mark. This stamp indicates that the jewelry consists of 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% copper alloy. If you do not see the 925 mark, it is probably not real sterling silver.


Although some older pieces do not feature a stamp, in this case, you can take it to a jeweler or appraiser to have it tested for authenticity.  



How to Care for Sterling Silver?



To keep your sterling silver looking its best, it's important to take proper care of it. Here are a few tips on how to care for your sterling silver:


- Store your sterling silver in a cool, dry place. An airtight container is ideal.


-Polish your sterling silver regularly with a soft, lint-free cloth.


- When not in use, keep your sterling silver away from harsh chemicals, such as bleach.


- Never clean your sterling silver with abrasive materials, such as wool.


By following these simple tips, you can keep your sterling silver looking new for years to come.



What is Better White Gold or Sterling Silver?



Sterling silver is less durable but more affordable. White gold is more durable, but it is more expensive.



Are Real Diamonds Set in Sterling Silver?



Diamonds in sterling silver rings are rare. The two materials are completely different. Diamonds are extremely hard, but silver is very soft. So, how can these two materials be used together in a ring?


The truth is, most diamonds set in sterling silver rings are not real diamonds. Silver and diamonds don't mix well because the prongs are too soft to hold diamonds securely. Instead, they are usually cubic zirconia or other fake gemstones, but the setting is sterling silver.


However, set diamonds in sterling silver rings does occasionally happen. A skinny layer of gold around the prongs is usually used to help support the diamond. Silver and diamonds can be made to work since the gold layer helps to ensure the diamond doesn't fall out of the setting.



Is Sterling Silver Fine Jewelry?



No, it's not fine jewelry. It is a precious metal that belongs to the demi-fine jewelry category.



What Is The Difference Between Silver 926 Vs. 925?



926 silver is a type of sterling silver that contains 92.6% pure silver and 7.4% other metals, usually copper. 925 silver is also sterling silver, but it consists of 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% other metals. The difference between the two alloys is very small, but it can significantly affect how the final product looks. 926 silver is a bit brighter and more reflective, while 925 silver has a softer, more muted appearance.