What’s sterling silver?

Since the earliest times, rare and precious metals have been of great importance in the lives of human beings. They make up most of the objects we use every day. In this guide, you can get some information about one of these rare metals: silver.

Solid silver: what exactly is it?

Sterling silver is the name given to the 925 vintage silver in France. Indeed, sterling silver is generally an object or a jewel that contains pure silver from more than 800 vintages, i.e. when silver is alloyed with other metals, the content of the silver must exceed 80% of that of the metal that will be alloyed with it. There are different types of solid silver: 999 silver which is silver in its raw state and contains 99% real silver (in the form of a silver ingot or coin). There is also 950, 800, 925 silver. Below the threshold of 80% silver content, silver objects or jewellery are no longer considered to be solid. The metals most used in jewellery for alloying silver are zinc, nickel, and especially copper.

Characters of sterling silver

By definition, silver comes from the Greek word “Argos” which means “shiny”, “white”. As a result, solid silver has a shiny and glittering character with a white colour. However, as a result of silver’s ductile and malleable property, its alloy with other metals such as copper is useful in the manufacture of jewellery. Indeed, these metals give them a harder, more robust and easier to work with. It is also important to know that solid silver is easily oxidized in contact with air, clothing fabrics, skin… This oxidation can cause a variation in the color of silver which tends to blacken, to become grey and yellow. Silver, like gold, is a recyclable metal, as 25% of the jewellery production from silver is recycled silver.

Further information about silver

Because of its great importance and daily use, the scams and counterfeits on the quality of the solid silver offered on the market are no less important. To find out the quality of sterling silver, you can use different methods such as the use of magnets, because you should know that silver is not magnetic. This method proves to be the most reliable if you need to test a solid silver object. But you can also see right on the back or on the clasp of your jewel, the oval punch of Minerva’s head which confirms the exact content of the silver. This hallmark is a guarantee of the authenticity of your object, because the affixing of this mark must only be done in the Paris Guarantee Office.

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