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Pure Silver vs Sterling Silver

“Is there even exist a difference?”
“I assumed they were the same!”

It is virtually impossible to find someone who understands the difference anymore, but after reading this blog, you will be able to state that you are one step closer to comprehending the commonalities and dissimilarities between Pure Silver vs Sterling Silver!

Silver has been utilized for thousands of years in a number of applications other than jewelry. Its applications varied from decorative to therapeutic. It was utilized by individuals all over the globe, in all cultures and faiths, and was seen as a valuable possession. 

Most families used silver as payment and for commerce, but when it was presented as a gift, it was considered as a token of respect and affection. Surprisingly, silver has been used as a medication until the 1930s since it contains antimicrobial characteristics; however, when antibiotics were created in the 1930s, silver was no longer necessary in the therapeutic sense. Surprisingly, silver is currently just worth 2% of what it was five hundred years ago!

Regardless, in modern times, silver still continues to hold its importance, in one way or another. Which is why, several people often confuse between pure silver and sterling silver and assume that they are the same. While both of them feature a few similarities, they are largely different. Let’s break it down. 

What is Pure Silver?

Pure silver, often known as fine silver, has 99.9 percent silver while the remaining 0.1 percent is trace metals. Approximately 5,000 years ago, the earliest silver deposits were found in the Middle East. Silver was primarily used as a valuable commerce item and as a symbol of riches during the time.

Pure silver is incredibly soft and pliable, making it difficult to mold into various forms appropriately. Due to this, pure silver is seldom used to manufacture jewelry because it bends, dents, or becomes deformed much too quickly.

Pure silver has shed most of its practical value in contemporary times, save for usage in the production of sterling silver, which is what you will often find in the jewelry and accessory industry since it is considerably more durable.

What is Sterling Silver?

Sterling silver is a metal alloy formed when metals such as copper or zinc are mixed with pure silver to render it simpler to mold into long-lasting items of jewelry.

With regards to chemical makeup, sterling silver has a purity of approximately 92.5 percent, with the rest 7.5 percent made up of copper, zinc, or occasionally nickel.You might also encounter silver coin, which is a less refined variant of sterling silver that contains just about 90% pure silver.

The utility of sterling silver more than compensates for its lack of purity. Most jewelry connoisseurs would concur that 100% silver jewelry would be a silly purchase due to how readily it would become broken and require continuous repairs. Due to the high silver content of ‘pure silver,’ it cannot be utilized to produce everyday rough and tough products.

Difference Between The Two

To summarize, there are four significant distinctions between silver and sterling silver. So, let’s breakdown the differences between Pure Silver vs Sterling Silver. 

  • Chemical Makeup: Sterling silver is primarily a silver alloy made up of about 92.5 percent fine silver and 7.5 percent additional metals such as copper or zinc. Fine silver is 99.9 percent pure silver. As a result, it is employed in the jewelry business as well as in the photographic industry.
  • Price: One of the primary distinctions between sterling silver and pure silver is price. Because pure silver is not mixed with other elements, it may be rather costly. Sterling silver allows you to get cheap, high-quality items that are just as lovely as pure silver and can contain more detailed patterns. You may even figure out how to keep your sterling silver jewelry shining like pure silver with some careful attention, giving you the very same appearance at a reduced cost.
  • Durability: Because pure silver is exceedingly delicate, it is difficult to create pure silver jewelry. Silver is softer, and as a result, craftsmen find it very hard to construct delicate lines and designs in jewelry with silver because it bends readily, but sterling silver, as indicated above, is manufactured with zinc and copper in addition to silver, giving it hardness and rigidity, making it the ideal choice for craftsmen.
  • Tarnish: Sterling silver is acutely susceptible to air and water, and its luster may readily get tarnished, while silver, similar to gold, does not tarnish even when in continual contact with water and air.

Identifying Pure Silver and Sterling Silver Labels

Fine silver is branded with markings like 999, 99.9, or.999, which indicate how much silver is contained in the item per hundred or thousand parts. Sterling silver manufactured in the United States is designated with the letters 925,.925, or 92.5. Sometimes, they are also marked with ‘SS’. By American standards, jewelry of lesser purity is not recognized as sterling silver.

It is important to note that silver marketed in European countries or other regions of the globe might have a clarity lower than 92.5 percent and yet be sold as silver or sterling silver. German silver, for instance, may contain as little as 80% silver. Russian silver can potentially have a purity less than 90%.

Since various countries have varying silver content requirements, it is always a good idea to ask about the real silver content of the jewelry you are going to purchase and give heed to the markings imprinted on it.

Which One Is Better?

Given our understanding of the qualities of Pure Silver vs Sterling Silver, we may infer that sterling silver is superior for fashion jewelry. It is long-lasting and can withstand daily use. It is also less expensive since other metals are utilized to manufacture sterling silver.

There are numerous types of sterling silver; consequently, you must choose which one is best for you. If you are sensitive to allergic reactions to specific metals, you should be aware that nickel should be avoided. That implies you must speak with the seller or maker of the alloy to prevent receiving a piece of jewelry that you cannot wear.

The proportion of silver impacts not just the cost, but also what you are looking for. Before buying a product, examine the stamp to determine the grade of silver you are purchasing. The more the silver percentage, the more care you should take to prevent scratches and overall tarnishing.

Whatever sort of silver or sterling silver you choose, make sure to keep it in good condition. After all, it is an investment that will pay out in the long run.

Before You Buy

We have seen that there is quite a difference between silver and 925 silver. To be honest, the term “silver” itself is rather complicated. In truth, this term is commonly used as a label, but silver should always be properly identified with a hallmark indicating its standard grade and quality.

Keeping this in mind, always seek for the hallmark, since manufacturers and craftspeople are required by law to stamp their works for possible purchasers. If you do not see a stamp, go shopping somewhere else. It is not worthwhile to spend money on a low-quality material with a sterling silver covering that will eventually wear off, appear cheap, and cause skin discomfort.

How To Care For Your Silver

After learning about the commonalities, distinctions, and a plethora of other vital details regarding the many kinds of silver, it is only natural that we conclude this thorough overview with a quick look at how you may care for your precious metal.

Good sterling silver may last a lifetime if properly cared for. Nevertheless, due to the alloy used to create sterling silver, it is more prone to corrosion and deterioration than normal silver. To avoid such corrosion, keep your sterling silver jewelry in a cotton bag or in a separate container in your jewelry box. Limit exposure to cleaning chemicals such as bleach or ammonia, or swimming in chlorine-containing water such as a swimming pool, as these can harm silver.

Silver tarnishing, a dulling which happens naturally when silver combines with sulfur or hydrogen sulfide in the air, should also be avoided. To polish your silver, use cleaners designed to eliminate tarnish. While wearing your silver jewelry frequently is the greatest way to keep corrosion at bay, regular regular cleaning of all your silver pieces will keep tarnish at bay and your silver dazzling and glittering.

Final Thoughts

Both are most commonly employed after gold in the manufacture of jewelry, particularly by those who have a penchant for jewelry but cannot afford to invest a large sum in it. Furthermore, silver is thought to be a great choice for producing jewelry and can be used to create a variety of patterns. And because sterling is an alloy, it has characteristics of more than a single metal. Many countries of the globe utilize silver and sterling silver for wedding bands because it appears lovely and refined. Because of its qualities and beauty, the younger generation favors silver above gold and other forms of metals.

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