What Is the Difference Between Sterling Silver and Silver?
Silver has been around since ancient times, but it’s existed for so long that it’s hard to pinpoint the exact origins of this precious metal. What we do know, however, is that silver has played a significant role in shaping human history. Silver was used as currency back in the days when other forms of money were scarce, or not available at all.
In today’s world, silver continues to be one of the most popular metals. This is because it doesn’t corrode, and can be combined with many different other materials to create some truly beautiful jewelry pieces.
When shopping for silver jewelry, it’s crucial to be able to distinguish between the different types of metal. Pure and sterling silver are two related, but distinct materials that you’ll come across. If this is your first time buying either type, keep reading!
The following guide will answer questions like: what is sterling silver? What is pure silver? Is sterling silver real? And which is better, silver or sterling silver? Amongst many other things.
Keep your eyes peeled as all will be revealed in our sterling silver vs. silver comparison, right here in this blog post.
What Is Pure Silver/Fine Silver?
Since the dawn of time, humans have been drawn to precious metals like gold or silver that can be used as currency in trade. The word “currency” comes from the Latin root currens, which means flowing. This implies that the value of currency represented how much something was worth in terms of what it could be exchanged for.
The first known use of silver dates back to around 3000 BC, when humans began using coins made from precious metals like silver or gold instead of trading goods directly with one another.
Pure silver, also known as fine silver, is 99.99% silver and 0.1% trace elements. It’s also called “fine” because the metal is refined to a point where it lacks any impurities, and thus contains only particles of silver itself.
Silver is a beautiful, natural material that has been around for centuries. It’s made from sulfur deposits in the earth’s crust, where temperatures are hot enough to create the metal. Fine silver can also be created by purifying and extracting metal from other materials like gold or copper.
Uses of Silver
Fine silver is a highly versatile material that can be used in many different ways. What’s excellent about silver, apart from its beauty, is how easily it mixes with other materials to create new products or objects of art.
When it comes to jewelry, pure silver is quite soft and difficult to shape correctly, making it hard to use to make items that require daily use or specific shapes. This softness also means that fine silver items aren’t as durable. They can be easily bent, distorted, or damaged, which is why fine silver is mainly reserved for making fine jewelry pieces. Because of this, pure silver is not generally used to make fine and delicate jewelry items.
This means that if you’re looking for a silver-colored ring or necklace for daily use, it’s best to choose sterling silver instead of fine silver.
Stamp and Purity
Fine silver is considered to be 99.99% pure, which means it contains 0.01% impurities like other metals in the periodic table that could potentially affect its appearance or chemical properties.
Something to note when buying fine silver is that it’s stamped with a purity stamp. When a silver object is sold commercially, it is stamped with one or more silver hallmarks that indicate its purity.
The manufacturer or silversmith carries this out. It may also include another optional marking to indicate its date of manufacture, place of manufacture, and the maker’s mark. Hammers and punches are used to imprint the hallmarks, which result in sharp edges and spurs of metal. As a result, hallmarking is generally completed before the piece is sent for its final polish.
What Is Sterling Silver? - Sterling Silver Meaning
Since its creation, sterling silver has been used in jewelry design by all cultures across the world. Sterling silver contains 92.50% pure silver and is mixed with other alloys such as copper, zinc, or palladium to make it stronger and more durable overall. From a manufacturing perspective, this implies that sterling silver can be worked and re-worked repeatedly without losing its quality at a fast pace, unlike pure silver, which could potentially change shape or become weaker after repeated uses.
This means that sterling silver can be used to create the more intricate designs and details of jewelry, while also being sturdy enough for everyday use.
Sterling Silver Uses
This beautiful, soft metal is used in a plethora of different applications, with the most common being that it’s an ideal material for making jewelry.
Sterling silver can be shaped into anything desired, whether it’s necklaces, bracelets, or rings. In addition, sterling can be polished to a brilliant shine without any loss in strength or durability.
Sterling Silver Stamp and Purity
Sterling silver is stamped with a purity stamp of “925.” This means that a government or other regulating body has officially recognized the metal as having at least 92.50% pure silver content, with copper making up the rest of its composition.
Sterling silver purity stamps provide consumers and jewelers alike with an easy way to gauge how much actual fine silver is in any given piece. Ultimately, this provides peace of mind for everyone involved.
Is Sterling Silver Real?
Sterling silver is completely real, and in fact, one of the most common forms of metal used today. What’s excellent about sterling silver jewelry items is that it tarnishes much slower than pure silver. This is primarily because there isn’t anything mixed into its composition to make it change color or corrode. Here at ELF925, we use e-coating to avoid tarnishing as long as possible; that’s why our sterling silver jewelry is guaranteed to last.
Sterling Silver vs. Silver: Why Use Sterling Silver Instead of Pure for Jewelry?
There are several advantages to using sterling silver over pure silver when it comes to making jewelry. When it comes to the silver vs. sterling silver comparison, sterling wins by a long shot.
Not only is it a less expensive alternative, but it also has the ability to be shaped into intricate designs and patterns more easily. It also provides a better luster overall when polished, looks beautiful on its own or combined with other types of metals in jewelry pieces, and will last for years without any noticeable wear.
Let’s expand on this a little bit more.
Unlike pure silver, sterling silver is incredibly durable. For those who love to wear their favorite pieces of sterling silver jewelry every day, they’ll be able to do so without the risk of it getting damaged or scratched with prolonged and repeated use.
Durability is vital, and sterling silver is able to stand up against the rigors of daily life. It can be polished to a brilliant shine without any loss in strength or durability.
Sterling silver is much less expensive than pure or fine silver. If you love to collect and wear sterling jewelry pieces, then you’re in luck. With sterling silver, you will be able to afford more items, without breaking the bank. Ultimately, you’ll be able to get more of what you love for less money.
Sterling Silver Looks as Good as Pure Silver
Hands down, sterling silver is just as beautiful and eye-catching as pure or fine silver. What it lacks in the purity department, it makes up for with its durability and cost-effectiveness.
The look of sterling silver jewelry pieces are typically described as bright white because they generally have a very polished shine to them that can’t be matched. What this means for you, the consumer and collector of fine jewelry pieces, is that your favorite accessories will look just as beautiful after years of use as they did when you first purchased them!
What more could anyone ask for?
In Jewelry, Is Sterling Silver Considered a Good Quality Item?
In short, yes! Sterling silver is considered the best choice for those who want a stunning, rich accessory that will last for years. What is most important, however, is your personal preference, as well as what you need in terms of durability and cost-effectiveness.
What is best for you? What speaks to your personality and style the most? The possibilities are endless when it comes to sterling silver jewelry, so go ahead and find what makes you happy!
Which is Better, Sterling Silver or Silver? The Conclusion
Now that you know the answer to the question: what is sterling silver? Among many others in our sterling silver vs. pure silver debate, it’s clear that sterling wins by a landslide.
Sterling silver is a wonderful choice for people who are looking for jewelry that will last. If you’re tired of your silver jewelry discoloring, tarnishing fast, or getting scratched up, then it’s time to make the switch!
Here at ELF925, we offer beautiful sterling silver jewelry in all different shapes and styles. All our stunning pieces come Stamped 925, and conform to international/EU/USA regulations.
With this in mind, it’s no wonder why we are Asia’s leading sterling silver jewelry manufacturer and wholesaler. Shop now to find out why so many people have made the decision to purchase their next piece from us today!