How To Tell The Difference Between Sterling Silver And Fine Silver


Fine silver and sterling silver are often used as interchangeable terms. But, sterling silver is really an alloy of silver, whereas fine silver is made up of 99.9% pure silver. However, sterling silver is made up of 92.5% silver with the rest made up on other metals.


Fine Silver vs. Sterling Silver: An Overview
Since fine silver is made up of a high percentage of silver, it actually can’t be used to make hardier items. It is just too soft to shape into different items. That is why metal experts choose to include a range of other metals such as iron, steel, or even copper as alternates for silver. However, they only make up around 7.5% to 8% of the piece so that the items made from a combination of metals can retain their shapes.
When other metals are added to silver to stabilize its shape, this is the process of creating sterling silver. Some of the most common uses of sterling silver include:
Knives
Forks
Spoons
Coffee sets
Sterling silver can be quick to lose its lustre when it lacks proper maintenance; however, pure silver will not tarnish on the surface. This is due to the fact that tarnish tends to be more responsive to alloy metals. If you want to test the tarnish tendency of an alloy or metal, all you have to do is rub your finger firmly over a shiny piece of sample metal. If the metal is sterling silver, you will find it may leave dull smudges on your skin.
The good news is that you can keep your sterling silver items from https://www.silver.uk.com shiny by using soft cotton or a cloth to gently and regularly clean the surface of your items.
As for the uses for silver, it is a popular metal for creating silverware items and fine jewellery, as it is a flexible and lustrous metal. What’s more, silver offers the added benefit of being able to remain stable in water and oxygen, but it can get tarnished when exposed to sulphur compounds in the air.


Plating
Sterling silver items may often be plated with a very fine layer of pure silver which helps to improve the sheen of the item. But, sometimes you may come across an item that is advertised as sterling silver plated. This just means that the piece is really made of copper or nickel and not silver, but rather that, it is plated with a layer of sterling silver, which may wear off after some wear.


Sterling Silver and Fine Silver Markings
Typically, fine silver is marked with 999, .999, or 99.9. This shows you how much silver per hundred or thousand parts is in the item. On the other hand, sterling silver is marked 92.5, .925, or 925.


Testing the Purity
Silver is tested for purity with the help of the acid test. A tiny shaving from an item is placed in acid to see if the colour will change. If the colour of the acid does change, it means that the item has a purity below 92.5%.

Before you buy any jewellery that is marketed as sterling silver or fine silver, be sure to check the stamped marks so that you know what you are purchasing.

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