If you are thinking of buying 925 silver jewelry, you will surely want to know the difference between pure silver and 925 sterling silver. You could say that pure silver does not really consist of only silver. It may consist of 99.9% silver, and a small content consists of other metals such as copper.
Sterling silver, on the other hand, consists of 92.5% silver, and the remaining part consists of copper – in all cases mostly copper. This is why sterling silver is so popular, and is called 925 sterling silver or just 925 Silver.
The reason why the silver must be combined with other metals is that it is very difficult to make magnificent motifs with only pure silver, which is very soft and malleable. A bit of the hardness must be added by adding other metals such as copper. That is why jewelers are capable of making the most intricate and complex designs with precisely 925 Sterling Silver.
The importance of buying jewelry consisting of sterling silver
Silver jewelry is not something cheap. It takes a pretty big investment on your part, whether you buy an earring of sterling silver or a necklace. But this is clearly a good investment, as its value increases over time. It also (hopefully) brings you lots of joy when wearing it. What is very important, however, is not to be fooled into buying fake sterling silver jewelry.
This is a recurring issue as many jewelers are known to sell fake sterling silver necklaces, rings, earrings, and so on. Sterling silver is much cheaper than more expensive metals such as gold, and yet fake imitations of sterling silver jewelry are something that is sold in markets around the world.
For example, it is common to come across silver plated jewelry that is sold as real sterling silver jewelry. The jewelry itself has only a minimal silver content and will deteriorate with time, sooner or later.
It is therefore important to know how to identify genuine silver from fake copies, with this knowledge you can avoid being fooled when you are going to buy your jewelry.
The various techniques described here will help you do just that – identify genuine sterling silver jewelry from fake ones sold by unreliable sellers.
1. First of all, rub the jewelry with a soft white cloth. If you notice that the jewelry stains on the cloth, then you can be sure that it is made of genuine sterling silver. This is because air exposure causes real silver to oxidize. This causes them to deteriorate over time, and the reason for black marks is found on the cloth they are polished with.
2. Do a test with nitric acid. When drops of nitric acid are added to fake non-silver jewelry, they will lose their color. If you don’t buy from a reputable seller, ask the jeweler before buying silver from them if you can perform nitric acid test on the jewelry.
Nitric acid has no effect on the real sterling silver jewelry, so if jewelers intend to sell you a real product, they will have no objection to this. But be sure to wear gloves and protect your eyes with goggles while doing the test with nitric acid.
If the jewelry is made of genuine sterling silver, the part on which you drop the nitric acid will appear cream-colored, and if it is fake jewelry, it will be shown in green.