Difference Between Sterling Silver vs Pure Silver?

Pure Silver is one of the most valuable metals in the world. The value of silver in ancient times made it one of the most traded items. Owning pieces of these precious metals was synonymous with wealth.

If you are looking for silver in the market, you will come across two types of silver: sterling silver and pure silver. However, you might get confused with these two pieces of silver jewelry. But it’s important to distinguish them before hitting the stores.

Let’s delve into the differences between sterling silver and pure silver to help you make an informed choice when shopping for silver jewelry.

What’s Pure Silver?

Pure silver, also referred to as fine silver. It consists of 99.9% silver and .1% can be trace elements. Due to its high purity, fine silver is too soft to use in jewelry making. Therefore, it is often mixed with other metals to make it harder. Pure silver is not recommended for use in jewelry because of its softness. To overcome this problem, silver is mixed with other metals to create stronger alloys.

What’s Sterling Silver?

Sterling silver is created when copper is added to pure silver to make the resulting compound more durable and less soft. Generally, sterling silver has a purity of 92.5%, meaning that 7.5% of the alloy is made of copper or any other metal (usually nickel or zinc). Therefore, it’s known as 925 sterling silver.

In the 1300s, the standard was established and followed in the USA. Also, it became popular by Tiffany & Co in the 1900s. 925 Sterling silver jewelry is much more durable than pure silver and is ideal for everyday use.

Sterling Silver Vs Pure Silver

When shopping for silver jewelry, it is important to know the differences between these two main silver types. To get started, let’s have a look at the following factors:

1) Composition
Pure silver contains 99.9% silver and 0.1% trace elements. No metal can be added to the metal once it’s refined in the factory. Whereas, sterling silver is an alloy of silver (92.5%) and another hard metal (7.5%) such as copper, zinc, or nickel.

2) Softness
Pure silver is very soft and for this reason, it’s not advisable to use it for jewelry. Jewelry makers find it hard to work with this material and this is where sterling silver comes in handy. On the other hand, sterling silver contains a metal that makes it harder and better for jewelry making.

3) Tarnishing
Pure silver doesn’t tarnish because it doesn’t consist of any metal in it. But sterling silver tarnishes over time. Copper is the most common element which is used to add to pure silver to create sterling silver. After its exposure, it gets discolored which affects the surface of the item made using sterling silver.

4) Durability
To make your pure silver stronger and tough, it’s mandatory to add copper and other metals. It makes it ideal for use in long-lasting jewelry and other household items.

If you are going to purchase any 925 sterling silver jewelry, now you have enough information to help you make the right choice. This article has made you aware of real silver and sterling silver. Thus, you can avoid fakes on the market and assess any sterling jewelry you find more critically.

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