The Difference Between Sterling Silver and Silver Plated Jewelry
Knowing the difference between silver plated and sterling silver jewelry is very important. Can you tell the difference yourself?
As it happens, the vast majority of fashion jewelry is silver plated. If the manufacturer or seller is not claiming specifically that the piece if sterling silver, then you should assume that it is silver plated by default.
What is Silver Plating?
Silver plating is a very thin layer of silver which is coated on to a base metal like nickel, brass or copper. Silver plated pieces are stronger and more durable than sterling silver, but are almost always less valuable, due to the much lower quantity of silver in the piece.
It is possible that with continuous wear and without proper care, in particular wearing the piece in water, will cause the silver coating to wear off, revealing the base metal beneath.
What is Sterling Silver?
Sterling Silver is any piece which is at minimum 92.5% pure silver. Because of this, it is easy to tell which pieces are Sterling Silver, if you know where to look. All pieces that are genuine will be marked with with a stamp reading 925.
Because of the high silver quantity, it is common for sterling silver to be melted down and the pure silver extracted, making the pieces very valuable and sought after.
You will need a specially designed cloth to clean your sterling silver piece. It can be marked or tarnished, but the mark is possible to be removed. Minimize damage to your sterling silver pieces by storing them in a clear plastic bag when not in use.
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