Sterling Silver Information

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Sterling Silver

Some people believe that "sterling silver" is pure (100 percent) silver.  This error understandable, as the word "sterling" is used in everyday talk to denote "excellence" (for example, "she has a sterling reputation"). What could be more excellent than pure silver?  Other people use the terms "silver" and "sterling silver" interchangeably.  This is also incorrect. 

The term sterling silver is a technical term that describes the silver content of an alloy.  Specifically, the phrase "sterling silver" originated in England, more than 800 years ago, to describe an alloy consisting of 92.5% silver.  The remaining 7.5% of the alloy is typically copper, but nickel, zinc and other metals have been used.  Silver and copper has proven to be most popular combination because the addition of copper adds much strength to silver, which by itself is quite soft and malleable. 

There is also debate about the origins of the term.  One theory suggests that "sterling" is derived from an old French word, esterlin, meaning little star.  Others have argued that the term originally referred to silver currency used in the German regions known as The Easterling, which had a 92.5% silver content.

One often sees sterling marked not as a percentage, but as the number 925.  This is the millesimal fineness of sterling, and means that there are 925 parts per 1000 of silver in the sterling allow.



Index Of Articles

"Silver 101"
"Sources of Silver"

"Sterling Silver Defined'"
"Silver Standards"

"Silver Marks and Hallmarks"

"Silver Testing Kits"

"The Silversmith"
"Silver Coins"

Plating & Treatments

"Silver Plated Jewelry"
"Gold Vermeil Jewelry"
"Rhodium Plated Sterling"
"Antiqued Silver"

Fake Silver Jewelry

"Alpaca Silver Jewelry"
"German Silver Jewelry"

Silver Jewelry Styles

"Bali Silver"
"Indian Silver"
"Thai Hill Tribe Silver"
"Tibetan Silver"
"Turkish Silver"

Silver Allergies

"Silver/Nickel Sensitivities"
"Hypoallergenic Jewelry"

Recent Developments

"Argentium® Sterling Silver"

"Silver PMC®"

"The Origins of Tarnish"

"Tarnish Removal"

"Firescale (Firestain)"

"Proper Silver Storage"

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