When it comes to purchasing silver jewelry, it's important to understand the distinctions between various silver types. Two commonly encountered options are 925 sterling silver and pure silver. While they may sound similar, they differ in composition, durability, appearance, and price. In this article, we delve into the characteristics of both 925 sterling silver and pure silver, allowing you to make an informed decision while shopping for silver accessories.
WHAT IS SILVER?
Fine silver is 99.9% pure silver and does not tarnish. Silver is a bright, highly polishable metal that’s been used for currency, decorative objects, and jewelry throughout history, but not without support from other metals. On its own, silver is too soft for practical, everyday use. But it’s just too pretty not to be used in jewelry and other fine decorations, so it’s often mixed with other metals to create a more durable material known as sterling silver.
WHAT IS 925 STERLING SILVER?
Sterling silver is an alloy made up of 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% other metals, usually copper or zinc. Sterling silver pieces are stamped with 925 to mark their authenticity. As one theory goes, King Henry II dubbed the durable coins made of silver alloy in circulation “Easterling coins,” which evolved into “sterling” silver. Today, the pound sterling remains the U.K.’s standard unit of currency.
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN STERLING SILVER AND SILVER?
- 925 sterling silver is an alloy composed of 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% of other metals, typically copper. The addition of copper enhances the silver's strength and durability, as pure silver is relatively soft and prone to scratches and dents. The 925 hallmark denotes the silver's authenticity and assures buyers of its high-quality composition.
- Pure silver, also known as fine silver, is composed of 99.9% silver and lacks any additional metals. Due to its high purity, pure silver is exceptionally soft and malleable, making it unsuitable for most jewelry applications.
2. Durability and Maintenance
- 925 Sterling Silver: The addition of other metals in 925 sterling silver increases its durability and resistance to everyday wear. Jewelry made of 925 sterling silver is less likely to scratch, dent, or deform.
To maintain its luster, regular cleaning and proper storage are recommended.
- Pure Silver: As pure silver is soft, it is more susceptible to scratches, dents, and deformation over time. Fine silver jewelry may require extra care and handling to avoid damage.
Frequent cleaning and appropriate storage are necessary to preserve its appearance.
- 925 sterling silver possesses a bright, shiny, and polished appearance. Its alloy composition gives it a distinctive white-silver hue. Over time, sterling silver may develop a natural patina, adding depth and character to the jewelry piece.
- Pure silver showcases a brilliant white shine, similar to 925 sterling silver. However, it may tarnish more quickly due to its higher purity level.
Tarnish on pure silver can be removed through cleaning and polishing.
- 925 sterling silver is more affordable compared to pure silver, making it a popular choice for jewelry enthusiasts. The addition of other metals reduces the overall cost while maintaining its beauty and durability.
- Pure Silver: Due to its higher purity and rarity, pure silver is generally more expensive than 925 sterling silver. Fine silver jewelry pieces often carry a premium price tag.
Understanding the differences between 925 sterling silver and pure silver is crucial when purchasing silver jewelry. While both have their unique characteristics, 925 sterling silver offers enhanced durability, an attractive appearance, and more affordable pricing. On the other hand, pure silver boasts exceptional purity and luster, albeit being more prone to damage. Consider your preferences, budget, and desired level of maintenance to choose the silver type that best suits your needs. Whether you opt for 925 sterling silver or pure silver, both can add elegance and timeless beauty to your jewelry collection.
At Helios Global, we are proud to offer a wide selection of silver jewelry accessories to help you achieve your desired style.