Many of us often relate sterling silver to normal silver, isn’t so? But this is not the case. There is an ample number of silver types/alloys, one among which is this sterling silver. Hence, it is a popular alloy of silver that constitutes pure silver and some other metals.
It isn’t as delicate as pure copper and is considerably more sturdy and thus, suitable for everyday ornaments. Going by the proportions, there lies 92.5% of pure silver and 7.5% blend of another metal(s). While copper is the most well-known of all, zinc and nickel are likewise regularly utilized in their production.
Much of the time, things that are made out of it are additionally covered with pure silver to improve the vibe of the piece by making it shinier. Nonetheless, these items ought to never be named as pure silver since they aren’t.
As a thumb rule, search for the expression sterling silver plated on the articles. Sometimes, these items are not even crafted out of it. Rather, they’re made out of different metals, for example, copper or nickel. They just own an external thin layer of sterling silver over them. After some time, this layer begins wearing off, leaving the thing looking considerably less appealing.
Table of Contents
- How to tell the difference between sterling and pure silver-based ornaments?
- Does sterling silver tarnish?
- How to avoid tarnishing in sterling silver?
- How much is sterling silver worth?
- How to test if it’s real sterling or not?
How to tell the difference between sterling and pure silver-based ornaments?
This is a very common question yet the most important. Most of the silver jewelry makers stamp their adornments. Therefore, on the fine silver pieces, you’re more likely to locate a number that shows the measure of silver per hundred parts (or thousands). The higher this number, the more silver is utilized in the item. Unadulterated silver ought to have a high number, for example, 999 (a few things are set apart as 99.9 or as .999, yet these altogether signify pure silver). On the sterling silver, you should see 925 (or, 9.25 or .925). In the event that the number is any lower than these, it’s not real silver.
Note that real silver sold in different nations may have a purity lower than 925. Not all nations have similar purity necessities that the U.S. has.
Does sterling silver tarnish?
Yes, sterling silver tarnishes with time due to the metals mixed in it. Gradually, the items made of it develop a tint of greenish or black color on the body indicating the onset of tarnishing. The rusting process speeds up when the article comes in contact with chemicals and sweat. However, with some regular care, tarnishing can be prevented to a greater extent.
How to avoid tarnishing in sterling silver?
Here are some ways to care silver articles from tarnishing.
Stay away from excessive water/chemicals
Staying away from the chemical solutions (containing sodium, ammonia, or any other salt) is the key to avoiding it from tarnishing. It’s also good to keep the article off while doing dishes or taking a shower.
Wear the sterling silver jewelry at last
When you are done with your makeup and have applied your favorite perfume, put on your sterling jewelry then, only to avoid any contact of the jewelry with the chemicals in makeup and perfume.
Wear it regularly
Yes, you read that right! Wear your sterling ornaments regularly but do take care of them while storing.
How much is sterling silver worth?
Well, the price of sterling silver is identified using the silver spot price, the value of one ounce of silver at a particular time and spot, before adding the manufacturing and other expenses. Silver’s spot price changes constantly which implies that your silver could be worth more (or sometimes less) starting with one month then onto the next.
All of this implies that the current spot price of silver is a measuring tool to measure how much does its worth. It is nothing but a ratio. The most ideal approach to utilize the spot price is as a ballparking estimate. In case you’re paying anything more than the spot cost for silver, you’re probably not getting a decent deal for your piece.
How to test if it’s real sterling or not?
There are many instances of circulation of fake sterling silver in the market for a while now. You are advised to check its trueness by performing any of the below tests.
Nitric acid test
When a few drops of nitric acid is added to any fake jewelry, it is bound to lose its color.
Rub the jewelry with a white cloth
When rubbed against a white cloth, if you can find black marks on the cloth, it implies that the jewelry is real. This is because as sterling reacts with air, it deteriorates and leaves behind black spots.
Real sterling silver doesn’t smell. If there is too much copper or any other metal, it will smell indicating its fraudulence.
Pure silver and sterling silver don’t attract the magnet. If any metal is mixed in more amounts with it, it will cause magnetism.
Is sterling silver better than pure silver?
Sterling silver is also pure silver but with a small proportion (7.5%) of other metals. It has the same shine and looks like pure silver. It’s hard and sturdy and thus, suitable for a number of household items and ornaments.
Is sterling silver cheap?
Yes, but not much. It will definitely cost you lower than pure silver.
Can I wear sterling silver jewelry daily?
Being highly durable and sturdy, you can put on your sterling silver jewelry every day.
Why does sterling silver develop a black layer?
In the air, there is hydrogen sulfide whose reaction with the silver causes a black layer.
What is the price of sterling silver?
As said above, its price is based on the silver spot price. For example, the silver spot price is $25-$27 per gram and about $800-$850 per kilo.