.925 Sterling Silver; The Basics.
What is .925 sterling silver?
Before we can define what .925 sterling silver is we need to know what silver is. Silver is a precious chemical element that consists of silver atoms. You can find silver as symbol “Ag” and number 47 on the periodic table. When mixing silver with one or more metals, e.g. nickel or copper, it becomes an alloy. Since silver is a very soft element and highly reactive to the air, it is typically used as an alloy for instance to make jewelry. Silver that consists of 92,5% silver and 7,5% of other metals is defined as .925 sterling silver.
How to tell if something is sterling silver?
The most simple and fastest way to identify sterling silver is to see if the alloy has one of the hallmarks sterling, 925 or 92.5 stamped inside the alloy. These hallmarks refer that 92,5% of the alloy is pure silver, while 7.5% are other metals. In silver jewelry such as necklaces or bracelets, the hallmark is located mostly on the backside of the clasp, as shown in the image below.
Source: 925 silver bracelet
Besides, you can also polish a sterling silver item with a soft white cloth. When there are black marks on the cloth, the silver is real, because silver tarnishes and oxidizes when it comes in contact with air. What is on the cloth is the tarnish you rubbed of the silver. Lastly, sterling silver is less toned compared to silver plated items. In other words, when the color is less shiny its most likely sterling silver.
To conclude, sterling silver is an alloy of 92,5% pure silver and other metals. You can identify sterling silver by one of its hallmarks, the tarnish after polishing a sterling silver item with a soft white cloth or the color. Do you know more ways to identify sterling silver?