The highest quality silver for jewelry is called Sterling Silver or 925 Silver. It is called 925 silver because it is 92.5% pure silver. The other 7.5% is another metal (typically copper), which helps strengthen and stabilize the metal.
For jewelry, 925 silver is far better. Pure silver is also known as fine silver and it is not as good for making jewelry for several reasons:
- pure silver is not ductile, meaning it can’t be easily formed into jewelry or adjusted to fit
- pure silver is soft, making it less functional
- pure silver will mix with small amounts of hydrogen sulfide in air and will tarnish
Typically 925 silver will be stamped with a “925”, “Sterling”, or “Ster” marking. Not all 925 silver is marked, so you may need to consult the seller on how the quality and purity is assured. Often, if a silver item is not marked the jewelry may only be electroplated with Silver—which makes its value much lower than 925 silver. Metallurgists or reputable jewelry dealers may be able to confirm the purity of the silver by measuring or by applying chemical tests to the metal. Purity test kits for silver can also be purchased and tested at home.
Simply put, it is the purest form of silver for making jewelry that maintains its beauty over time. Because it is a stable alloy, it will not tarnish over time. It is more workable by jewelry adjusters. 925 silver will not bleed or shed onto your skin when you wear it.
Look for a reputable dealer in your area or refer to the many low-margin dealers that sell 925 items online. We also provide some links to various 925 silver sources