What Exactly Is 925 Sterling Silver? By Ashley Shameli
A great deal of silver jewellery available today is called 925 silver. Have you ever wandered why we in the jewellery trade add the number 925 in front of sterling silver? Before you part with your hard-earned money buying jewellery for yourself, or as a gift for someone else, it is worth finding out what exactly 925 silver is. Furthermore, it is important to understand why you must always insist that your silver jewellery is up to the high 925 standard.
Before we look at what 925 silver is, we must first consider the properties of this fascinating metal. Pure silver is extremely malleable and therefore can easily damage. It also softens over time, even at room temperature.
Obviously, in this state silver is useless for jewellery purposes. To avoid the problems of malleability and softening, and thus to increase the life-span of your silver jewellery, other metals are added to the pure silver. The result of this blending process with alloys is a combined silver and alloy substance which is far more resistant to scratching and damage.
925 sterling silver jewellery is actually a combination of 92.5% silver and usually 7.5% copper. Sometimes the craftsman replaces copper with another material, or even a combination of materials. Over the last decade lower copper prices and an abundance of copper due to improved refining techniques have made it the first choice of many designers and jewellery stylists.
The beneficial properties gained by adding the copper to the pure silver have made the resulting product extremely popular with a host of silver craftsmen. Earrings, rings, bracelets and all other forms of jewellery can be carefully designed with the assurance that each intricate bend and turn will remain firmly in place.
925 silver is therefore a combination of mostly pure silver and a lower percentage of infused alloy metal. The addition of copper, or occasionally a similar copper-like substitute, helps to enhance your silver jewellery and does not in any way detract from its quality.
It is important to check that your silver jewellery is high quality 925 sterling silver before making a purchase. In the UK nearly all 925 sterling silver jewellery is hallmarked. All of the silver jewellery Purdice sells complies with relevant hallmarking requirements. If you are purchasing in another country, we advise you to check with the regional or national silver jewellery hallmarking body to find out if retailers can sell inferior lower grade silver jewellery without informing you.
Remember that in many countries the 925 hallmark is an assurance to you that your silver is of the highest quality.
About the Author: Ashley Shameli, the author of this article, is a director of http://www.purdicejewellery.co.uk. He also contributes to the Purdice Jewellery library of interesting jewellery facts at http://www.purdicejewellery.co.uk/qanda.asp.
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