What is the difference between sterling silver and fine silver?
We are asked all the time, do you use pure silver in the making of your jewellery? I think that question is asked as people want to be sure it isn't plated or paste jewellery.
The fact of the matter is that most jewellery is not made from fine or pure silver. It is impractical to use fine silver in the making of jewellery as it is a very soft metal. You could make jewellery from fine silver it would be at a higher risk of being damaged than if it were made from sterling silver. Sterling silver or .925 silver is the silver that most reputable jewellers choose to work with. We alloy our own sterling silver to be sure that it has been done correctly.
Fine or pure silver is at the most 99.9% pure silver. There are always some impurities found in fine silver. Fine silver is used as the base for sterling silver and as a commodity for trading. In some countries like Mexico, there are silver mines. In Zimbabwe, we aren't as lucky. Our silver is actually a by-product of the mining of gold.
So what is sterling silver? Sterling silver or .925 is fine silver that has had an alloy added to it to improve its strength. There is a simple formula we use at The Zuri Collection in order to make sterling silver for our jewellery:
100 g sterling silver x 92.5% fine silver = 92.5 g fine silver (Pictured below - Left)
100 g sterling silver x 7.5% copper = 7.5 g copper (Pictured below - Right)
The fine silver and copper are mixed together in these proportions and smelted together to make a sterling silver ingot from which we make our sterling silver plate and wire. Another method is to use germanium to make Argentium sterling silver. We are kind of old school at The Zuri Collection, so we still do our sterling silver the traditional way.
In order to know if your piece of jewellery is sterling silver, it should have a stamp inside or on the back of the piece. If the stamp says sterling silver or .925 that means the above formula was used in alloying the silver from which your piece of jewelery is made. You will find either the Sterling Silver or the .925 stamp inside or on the back of all of the jewellery we make at The Zuri Collection.
If you have additional questions on fine silver and sterling silver please contact us and we would be happy to help.