There are many different names for silver jewelry on the market today and for many this has become somewhat incomprehensible. What are all these different forms of silver and what do they mean?
What is silver?
Silver is a white metal that surpasses all other metals in color, heat, electrical conductivity, polishability and color reflection. Silver is mined in many countries, but the largest producers are Mexico, Peru and Australia.
Fine silver is 99.9 pure silver and in this pure form is too soft to forge silver jewelry from. If someone tells you that a ring is pure silver .. not! The silver jewelry would lose its shape so that other metals must be added to the silver to make it stronger. Copper is a widely used metal for this. Silver that is mixed with one or more metals is called an alloy.
.925 or Sterling Silver
The first silver content is an alloy and contains 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% copper. This type of silver is the most important type of silver that is used for silver jewelry. Important arguments for this are the beautiful white color and the good workability. In England the first level of silver is called Standard Silver and internationally Sterling Silver. The first silver content is stamped with the .925 mark.
Although .925 silver is regarded as standard for manufacturing silver jewelry almost all over the world, there are of course exceptions to this rule. In Peru, for example, the goldsmiths mainly work with .950 silver. This alloy has a nicer whiter shine than .925 silver because of the higher percentage of pure silver and is hard enough to make beautiful silver jewelry. This silver alloy is stamped with the .950 mark.
The second silver content is an alloy and contains 83.5% pure silver and 16.5% copper. This silver alloy is less beautiful in color than the first grade. A relatively large amount of copper has been added to the silver, so that less of the beautiful white color of silver is retained … this means brushing … This alloy is therefore used to a much lesser extent for silver jewelry. This type of silver is stamped with the .835 mark.
The third silver content with an alloy of 80% pure silver and 20% copper is used almost exclusively for utensils that require a harder silver alloy. This type of silver is stamped with the .800 mark.