If you’re considering buying sterling silver jewellery, you will no doubt want to know the worth and difference. It is better to know what is 925 real silver and sterling silver.
Silver is an incredibly popular material for use in the jewellery industry and it’s not hard to see why. But how can you tell if your jewellery is made from real sterling silver, or simply silver plated costume jewellery?
As you are likely to want to spend your money on a piece of jewellery that will last for a very long time, it’s important to know the difference between genuine sterling silver jewellery and fake silver pieces.
If you’re considering buying sterling silver jewellery, you will no doubt want to know the difference between pure silver and 925 sterling silver. Well, pure silver is not really made up of only silver. It has 99.9% of silver, and a small content composed of other metals such as copper.
What Does A 925 Mark Mean When Stamped On Jewellery?
The 925 stamp indicates that the piece of jewellery you’re holding has been created with sterling silver.
Sterling silver is an alloy that is made of 92.5% actual silver, with the rest of the metal made up of base metals like copper.
The reason behind this alloy is that it’s much harder than the 99.9% required for “fine” silver, which makes it better for practical objects. Jewellery can also benefit, particularly rings and bracelets which are more often exposed to getting dented or scratched than pendants or earrings.
The vast majority of sterling silver contains copper as the alloying material. That said, there are plenty of other additives that see use but still meet the sterling standard.
Still, in the bulk of cases, the 925 stamp indicates what you’re holding is 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper by weight. For a bar of silver to be classified as sterling silver, it must meet at least a 92.5 purity, AKA 925. So, as you can see: 925 silver is the same thing as sterling silver.
Sterling silver allows for easy working, while still maintaining the majority of white shine that typifies the precious metal.
Sterling Silver, on the other hand, consists of 92.5% silver, and the remaining part consists of copper – mostly copper. This is the reason why Sterling Silver is popularly referred to as 925 Sterling Silver or just 925 Silver.
The reason silver needs to be combined with other metals is that it is very difficult to make great designs with just pure silver, which is very soft and malleable. A bit of hardness has to be introduced, by adding other metals such as copper. That’s why jewellers are capable of making the most intricate and complex designs with 925 Sterling Silver.
Is 925 Sterling Silver Worth Anything?
Yes, but only if we are talking about the real thing. Sterling silver, 92.5% pure silver is quite valuable. With pure silver regarded as one of the precious metals from Mother Earth, owning real sterling silver is quite something.
The catch, however, is that sterling silver is not cheap which means that if someone sells to you a sterling silver ring or necklace that’s supposedly stamped with the S925 or 925 mark cheaply, you might want to run for the hills.
If you buy a genuine piece of sterling silver jewellery, then you have in your hands a very worthy investment, whose value increases with time.
Unfortunately, most of us have been duped by supposed genuine sellers of sterling silver jewellery which means that the pieces you have kept so well are not worth anything.
Your silver jewellery is only worth something if it’s genuine.
Silver-plated jewellery doesn’t count either because of the low silver content, and also the fact that the silver chips with time, leaving you with nothing.
How Much Is 925 Silver Worth?
Sterling silver is marked as 925 silver when it contains 92.5% silver, combined with another metal (usually copper) for added strength. It’s less expensive than some other metals, such as white gold, but that doesn’t mean it lacks value. Some 925 silver pieces are more valuable in their original form since they may be considered fine/luxury items, and some are antiques. You can also sell silver as scrap.
All silver and gold that is sold have to be marked to show its precious metal content. Pure silver and gold are too soft to hold a shape, and so base metals, like copper, lead and nickel, are added to give them strength.
The current price of silver varies. One of the reasons it is valuable is that, besides being used in jewellery, it is also used in many manufacturing processes.
It is possible to estimate or compute the value of 925 sterling silver manually. Sterling silver is regularly used for manufacturing jewellery, cutlery, plates, ornamental items, and more.
Silver is a precious metal, much like gold and platinum, but is more affordable than these two metals. Silver provides the shininess of silver products, while copper alloy is useful for making the silverware sturdier and more durable.
As of this writing, the average cost of silver is fifteen to twenty-three dollars per ounce, and the market-aligned value is seventeen dollars to twenty-one dollars per ounce.
Since this is a precious metal, the value of silver is computed by its actual weight and not by carat, unlike precious stones. To calculate the price of your sterling silver jewellery, you will need a weighing scale that can weigh up the smallest unit (milligrams or grams).
To compute the weight of the sterling silver in ounces, you need to divide the total weight by 28.3495. Take the quotient and multiply by .925, and the product will be the weight of the elemental silver.
Next, you have to take the current market markers for silver and multiply them by the weight in ounces that you now have. So if the value of silver is $17 and you have 1.432 ounces of it, the value of your sterling silver is $24.344.
Don't throw it away. A jeweller can melt it down and make something new out of it for you.
925 silver or sterling silver is hands down the most popular form of silver in the market, and for a good reason: it looks good and is even more durable than fine silver.
925 silver is genuine silver that has been alloyed with another metal to make it more durable and roadworthy. Read more to find out more about how elemental silver is made into sterling silver.
How Can You Tell If a Piece is 925 Sterling Silver?
If you are worried about the authenticity of your “sterling silver” jewellery, there are a few warning signs that you should look out for to determine if it is fake or not.
The easiest way to test if your jewellery is sterling silver is to get a magnet and place it next to your piece of jewellery. Metals such as gold, silver and platinum are not magnetic, so if your jewellery is attracted to the magnet, you can be sure that your piece isn’t real silver.
Another way to check is to see if there are any marks on your jewellery that relate to its purity. You should be looking for marks which say “925”, “.925” and “s925”.
Evaluate How It Feels
Run your fingers through the piece of jewellery – genuine silver should feel slightly cold to the touch and warm up if you keep pressing the metal. Genuine Silver should also feel solid in your hand with a decent weight.
Fake silver is usually smooth to the touch and light. This indicates the inside of the jewellery is usually hollow.
Test For Color
When fake silver is exposed to heat and other chemicals it turns into a bright copper-like colour with a tinge of green and orange – this means it exposes the based metal indicating that the silver was just a covering top layer.
The Flake Test
Some items may be silver-plated, which means that they are covered with a layer of real silver. Does the item have flakes that reveal a different metal underneath? Can you scratch it with your fingernail and see another material below it? The item is plated with silver but is not sterling silver. You can also take a few of the flakes and put them into acid. The acid's colour should remain the same if it is pure silver. Of course, this is not a test that you can do while at the store, so only do this test on pieces that you own.
Frequently Asked Questions About 925 Silver
In fact, 92.5% is not a recognized value for gold. If you find a piece of gold jewelry with 925 or some variation stamped on it, odds are very good the piece isn't solid gold. It's instead likely the piece's base is sterling silver and gold has been plated or otherwise applied atop the base.
925 Silver. Sterling is the jewellery quality standard in the United States and most world markets. It is an alloy of 92.5% silver. The remaining 7.5% is usually copper though it is sometimes other metals such as nickel.
The Ice Test
You will need to have access to the ice to do this particular test: take a cube of ice and put it on top of the silver item. "Silver has the highest thermal conductivity of any common metal or alloy," explains Martin. "Even at room temperature, authentic silver products will melt the ice at an exceedingly rapid rate. If it melts fast(er), it probably is silver." It's a simple, neat little trick that can tell you if you are dealing with sterling silver or a clever fake.
Things to Know When Buying Sterling Silver Jewellery
We’ve learned that there’s no difference between sterling silver and 925 silver, but the same can’t be said for other items in the jewellery marketplace. Truth is, the term “silver” alone is quite complex. This word is popularly used as a label, when in fact silver should always be identified with a hallmark representing its standard grade and quality.
With that information in mind, always look for the hallmark as jewellers and artisans are legally obligated to stamp their pieces for potential buyers.
If you don’t see a stamp, shop elsewhere. It’s not worth buying a low-quality metal disguised with a coating of sterling silver, which ultimately wears off, looks cheap and can lead to skin irritation.
That’s right, cheap metals can irritate the skin and result in allergic reactions, making sterling silver a great option for sensitive skin. Inexpensive metals like nickel or brass can cause infections, especially with earrings.
Before purchasing any piece of jewellery made of 925 sterling silver, we should be more obvious about the authenticity of the metal. Sometimes we get cheated by buying a ring or earrings made of 925 sterling silver plated instead of solid sterling silver. Such plated silver rings lose their lustre and shine after a specific time.
Similarly, we are can also get some unpopular, non-allergenic metal in the guise of 925 sterling silver. This may cause serious damage to our pockets as well as our emotions. To avoid all these uncertainties and doubts, we recommend you some tests. They may prove helpful for you to make a decision.
Bottom line: Sterling silver, aka 925 silver is hypoallergenic, high quality, stylish and safe.
Is 925 Silver Real Silver?
As we have mentioned briefly in the previous section, 925 silver is a genuine article, because it contains far more silver than the alloyed metal. The most common metal used for strengthening elemental silver is copper, but other metals may also be used.
Additional metals that may have been added to sterling silver in minute quantities include silicon, boron, germanium, and zinc. These metals are added to prevent or reduce the incidence of tarnishing in sterling silver. Tarnishing is a type of corrosion that results in a black layer forming over the silver.
Benefits Of Sterling Silver
- Sterling silver is very affordable and pocket-friendly.
- It is very stylish and can be moulded in almost every intricate design.
- The form and texture of sterling silver are so classy that everyone can wear it not only at events but also casually.
- It is hypoallergenic and has no use of allergenic metals as nickel or cobalt.
- It is durable and strong.
Disadvantages of Sterling Silver
- It is a normal practice to cheat people by selling sterling silver plated jewellery in place of sterling silver.
- Sometimes the jewellery made of sterling silver proves allergenic because of the alloys that are mixed with them.
- The jewellery made of 925 sterling silver tarnishes easily and we have to re-polish them after some time.
While discussing the value and importance of 925 sterling silver, we must look at it not only in comparison with other metals but also individually. It is a fact that sterling silver is too graceful to look at because every gemstone, pearl, or design is enhanced when it is used in 925 sterling silver.
But you know that the number of sterling silver in the queue is 4th. It has more expensive and rare metals than its competitors. They have their value and importance. Gold and Platinum are something more special and expensive.
But you need not be upset. The grace and specialty of sterling lie in its name “925”. It means that the mixture of pure 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper or other metal is its main feature.