Have you ever noticed the 925 stamp on your sterling silver jewellery?
If you own a pair of sterling silver earrings or a silver necklace, have a look and see if you are able to see the numbers 925.
If you can see them then you can rest assured that your piece of jewellery meets the quality standards of silver. The numbers mean that 92.5% of your sterling silver jewellery is made from sterling silver and 7.5% is made from other allow metals, like copper, nickel or zinc. Sterling silver is, obviously not the same as pure silver. Pure silver is made up of 99.9% of silver as opposed to the 92.5% used in sterling silver. Pure silver is soft and malleable which make it difficult to make jewellery from. It is for this reason that it is combined with metals like copper and nickel, to make it harder and easier to work with. 925 Silver can be easily made into intricate and abstract designs.
Why should you buy 925 sterling silver?
Whatever piece of jewellery you are considering buying, whether it is a friendship bracelet, silver hoops or silver rings, you want to make sur that you are buying 925 Sterling silver jewellery. It will not be a cheap purchase, but the investment will be worthwhile as the value of silver increases with time. When you are looking for the perfect piece, it is important to make sure that you are not sold fake silver.
It is common for jewelers to use fake silver in their sterling silver jewellery designs because it is obviously cheaper that sterling silver. Even though sterling silver is cheaper than gold, you will still find many fake silver studs, bracelets and rings available for sale on the market. This is why it is important to know what to look for when you are looking for sterling silver pieces of jewellery. Silver plated jewellery is not the same as sterling silver and if you buy a pair of earring studs that are silver plated, they will deteriorate.
Identifying sterling silver jewellery:
There are a few techniques you can use to double check that the jewellery you are being sold is actually sterling silver and not fake silver.
- Rub with a soft white cloth. Take a soft white cloth and rub your piece of jewellery gently, if there are black marks on the cloth, then the sterling silver as been used to make the piece. When sterling silver is exposed to air it oxidizes and this causes deterioration over time and results in the black marks you will find on the cloth.
- The Magnet Test. When you place a magnet next to a sterling silver (or gold) piece of jewellery it will have no effect. If the magnet is attracted to the jewellery then rest assured that it has not been made from real sterling silver but rather a fake alternative.
- The Nitric Test. You will need to get permission from the jeweler to perform this test. All you need to do is add a few drops of nitric acid to the piece of jewellery, if it loses its colour (it should turn green) then fake silver has been used to make it. If you drop nitric acid onto 925 Sterling silver, it will turn a creamy color, but it has no actual effect on the silver. If the jeweler knows the piece is genuine sterling silver, then he will not mind if you conduct the test. It is worthwhile to do this if you are purchasing an expensive piece of sterling silver jewellery.
- Does it smell. Sterling silver has no odor at all, but copper does. So, if you pick up your silver bracelet and it smells, then it is contains too much copper and is not real sterling silver.
- The 925 mark must be present. Sterling silver pieces of jewellery will have the 925 marking on them or alterative it can “Ster” or “Sterling”. These markings will be hidden but if you cannot find them, the piece is probably not sterling silver and you should rather not invest in it.
If you purchase fake sterling silver jewellery it is likely to deteriorate and lose its appeal very quickly. Even sterling silver with the 925 marking on will tarnish over time, because it has been mixed with other metals. But unlike, fake silver, you will be able to easily slow down the tarnishing process by properly caring for your sterling silver pieces. You are also able to polish up any pieces that have tarnished over time, or you can get the pieces professionally cleaned and when they return, they will look as good as new. No amount of polishing will help restore the quality of fake silver pieces.