925 sterling silver is a popular choice for jewelry and other silver items. It's as resistant to changes in style as it is to knocks and scratches, which makes it a great investment.
The high demand for 925 sterling silver has led to many imitations. There is no shortage of con artists selling cheap sterling silver knock-offs to unsuspecting customers. If you're unlucky enough to fall victim to such a scam, then it's almost impossible to get your money back. For this reason, we urge anybody shopping for 925 sterling silver to consult this article before making a purchase.
What is 925 Silver?
Despite how it's advertised, most silver is not actually pure silver. Instead, it's made up of 99.9% silver and certain additional materials, such as copper. This is because silver is a softer metal. When not mixed with other metals, it's more susceptible to damage.
925 silver uses additional metals to achieve stability. As its name suggests, it's made of 92.5% silver. The additional 7.5% consists of harder alloys such as copper. Sterling silver is just another name for 925 silver.
The Value of Your 925 Sterling Silver
The price of your jewelry is derived from a variety of different factors such as silver content and craftsmanship. It's important to know the scrap metal value of your jewelry just so you know what the base price would be. On our website we have an easy to use sterling silver calculator. You just need to enter the weight of your sterling silver item and then click the calculate button.
Advantages of 925 Sterling Silver
925 sterling silver has a number of unique advantages. Perhaps most notably, it's more durable than pure silver. Its higher alloy content makes it more resilient to scratches.
Sterling silver is also more affordable than pure silver. It's also less expensive than gold, platinum, and many other materials commonly used in jewelry manufacturing.
In addition, sterling silver is very malleable. Many jewelers actually prefer it because it can be molded into a variety of shapes. Due to its malleability, it's easy to buy intricate and custom sterling silver pieces for relatively cheap prices.
Disadvantages of 925 Sterling Silver
While the copper used in 925 sterling silver is advantageous when it comes to stability, it can also be a drawback. Copper is an allergen. So if you suffer from a skin condition then it could be aggravated by sterling silver jewelry.
Copper also has a tendency to darken over time. This often causes 925 sterling silver jewelry to tarnish and lose its shine. Therefore you would need to clean your sterling silver on a regular basis in order to keep it looking its best.
How to Identify Markings
Sterling Silver markings are easy to spot. Here are the markings of pieces made in the United States: ".925", "925", "S925", "925/1000", "sterling", and "ster". There might also be additional markings to indicate the country of origin or the manufacturer. You can find these markings on any piece of silver.
Old British silver pieces will have different hallmarks. These marks contain unique images such as lions. Click here to learn more about British hallmarks and to see some examples.
It's important to remember that just because a piece has the correct stamp doesn't mean that it's real sterling silver. Read below to learn how to identify fakes.
How to Identify Fakes
The most accurate way to test your silver is with the nitric acid test. If you are uncertain about the legitimacy of a piece of silver, then you should buy nitric acid testing solution.
To perform this test, take a file and make an small indent on your piece. This way you can get deeper into the piece so there won't be any false positives with silver-plated jewelry. Next put a drop of the acid onto the piece. If the acid changes a certain color then you'll know that it's real silver.
A testing stone is another way to perform this test. You would just rub a small part of your silver onto the testing stone to create a mark and then put a drop of acid on the stone.
Of course there are other tests that you can perform. We have written an entire article on silver tests. But for maximum accuracy, it's best to perform the nitric acid test.
925 sterling silver features a great look and good durability. It's relatively affordable and there are a lot of different places where you can buy it. Just remember to make sure that a silver item is real before buying or selling it.