When it comes to jewelry, there are two main types of metals utilized: precious metals and alternative metals. Precious metals, like gold and silver, are high quality and tend to retain their value over time. On the other hand, alternative metals such as copper, stainless steel, and brass, are less expensive but of lower quality. It can be difficult for buyers to tell the difference between the two, particularly when shopping online. This article will explain the distinction between 925 sterling silver and silver-plated jewelry to assist you in making an informed decision when purchasing jewelry online.
What is 925 Sterling Silver?
925 sterling silver is an alloy composed of 92.5% silver and 7.5% of other metals, usually copper. It must meet a minimum millesimal fineness of 925 to be considered true sterling silver. Jewelry made from sterling silver will have a “925” stamp indicating its authenticity. If a piece of jewelry does not have this stamp, it is not made from sterling silver.
What is Silverplating?
On the other hand, silver-plating is a process where a thin layer of silver is applied to a base metal such as brass or copper. Silver-plated jewelry is not solid silver, it only has a thin layer of silver on top of another metal. To identify if a piece of jewelry is silver-plated, look for a “plate” or “EP” stamp on the item. Additionally, if the back or underside of the piece is made of a different metal than the front, it is silver-plated. The downside to this method is that it is not very durable and the silver layer can wear away easily, revealing the base metal.
In conclusion, when shopping for jewelry online, pay attention to the details and make sure to check if the piece is made from 925 sterling silver or if it is just silver-plated. Sterling silver will have a “925” stamp and will be made entirely from sterling silver, while silver-plated pieces will have an “EP” or “plate” stamp and will be made from another metal with just a thin layer of sterling silver on top. Sterling silver is more durable and will last longer than silver-plating, it's worth considering when shopping for jewelry online.