When we want to buy jewelry, we often wonder about their materials. For the silver, there may be many different types. So how do you ensure that you are not deceived by the salesperson’s rhetoric when buying silver jewelry? We need to understand what all kinds of silver are and the differences between them. This article will show you the definition of sterling silver and silver plated and the difference between them.
Definition of Sterling Silver and Silver Plated
Sterling silver is easy to understand, that is, the content of silver is close to 100%. But because silver is an active metal, it is easy to chemically react with sulfur in the air to generate silver sulfide and make it black. Therefore, sterling silver in life generally refers to silver with a content of 99.0% or silver with a content of 92.5%. Although the content of these two kinds of silver is less than 100%, both can be called sterling silver.
And what is silver plated? Silver plating, as the name suggests, is that only the surface is plated with silver. The inner core may be copper or other metals that are not as precious as silver. The result is that the product looks like silver, but only a small part of it is silver. Therefore, its value is different from sterling silver products because there are less luxury metals. Silver plated is often used to make tableware, such as silver plated plates, cups and so on.
It should be noted that there is no saying that sterling silver plated exists in jewelry, so don’t be deceived by the merchant.
Difference Between Silver Plated and Sterling Silver
First of all, in terms of appearance, there is almost no difference in appearance between sterling silver and silver plated. For non-professionals, it is difficult to distinguish them from the color of their appearance. Silver plated items have the same bright and shiny surface as sterling silver, but its color is usually lighter than sterling silver.
The second point is that the weight is different. As a precious metal, sterling silver is one of the lighter, less dense and malleable metals. Generally speaking, the weight of sterling silver is lower than that of silver plated. For example, if you have two rings of the same size and shape, one made of silver plated and the other made of sterling silver, the sterling silver ring will be much lighter. This is because other types of materials commonly used as base metals in silver plated are naturally heavier than sterling silver.
The third one is about durability. As we all know, sterling silver is really soft, so it is easy to deform. 925 sterling silver is an exception, due to the combination of 7.5% of other metals, this sterling silver is neither easy to oxidize, but also has sufficient hardness. However, some 925 silver products have intricate details and grooves, which may eventually wear out. Let’s look at silver plated again. Due to the high hardness of the metal of the inner core, silver plated jewelry is more durable in terms of shape. However, other metals are not as good as sterling silver in terms of oxidation resistance, and other metals will oxidize faster, which may cause the silver plated on the surface to fall off.
Silver Plated VS Sterling Silver – Which is better?
Due to the obvious price difference between sterling silver and silver-plated products, it is difficult to compare which is better together. The price of sterling silver jewelry is more expensive than silver plated. As the saying goes, ‘you get what you pay for’, sterling silver is definitely better. But silver plated can make jewelry more glamorous and beautiful. The silver on the surface of fine silver plated is not so easy to fall off. If you want to buy beautiful silver jewelry at a cheap price, silver plated is also a good choice.
In fact, the current sterling silver bracelet is not very expensive, after all, compared to gold and platinum, silver is a very cost-effective precious metal. And from the perspective of collection, sterling silver has a high collection value. Even if you don’t like this style in the future and don’t want to wear it, you can also take it to the jewelry store to modify the style. Therefore, sterling silver has the advantage of maintaining value and increasing value.
How to Identify a Silver Plated Jewelry?
The easiest and most intuitive way to judge the material of the jewelry is to look at the stamp on the jewelry. Sterling silver jewelry usually has ‘S925’ and ‘S990’ stamps, while silver-plated jewelry does not. So if you see that there is no stamp on the silver jewelry, it is likely to be silver-plated jewelry.
Another way is to weigh. The density of sterling silver is very high, and some metals similar to sterling silver, such as aluminum and copper, are far less dense than silver. So we can weigh the silver jewelry of the same size at the same time, and the heavier side is the sterling silver jewelry. However, for silver jewelry inlaid with other gemstones, this method of judging is not so accurate.
Many other metal elements are added to silver plated jewelry, so the hardness is much higher than that of sterling silver jewelry. We can use a small clip to clamp the two separately. If it is sterling silver jewelry, there will be less obvious traces on the surface; if it is silver plated jewelry, it will not leave any traces because of its high hardness and wear resistance.
It is also a method to distinguish from the price, but it is limited to stores that have formal qualifications and are trustworthy. It is true that sterling silver is more expensive than silver plated, but some unscrupulous merchants will sell silver plated at the price of sterling silver. In this case, judging from the price is not so accurate.
The above is the whole content of this article. After reading this article, do you have a deeper understanding of sterling silver and silver plated? It is a good choice to prepare before buying. Only when we have sufficient knowledge reserves and choose qualified stores, when buying silver jewelry, we will not spend a high price to buy jewelry that is not worth this price.