925 Sterling Silver Jewellery - What does 925 mean?
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1 July 2012
When looking to buy sterling silver jewellery, you may notice some sellers mentioning hallmark "925".
So, what exactly does that mean?
"925" or "SS" represents certified "sterling silver" and is stamped on jewellery to demonstrate the high quality of the product.
This stamp represents the fact that the piece of jewellery you are buying consists of 92.5% genuine silver. The other 7.5% will be alloy to help prevent tarnishing. Typically copper is used, although zinc, platinum or geranium are also common.
Infusing silver with other metals does not lower it’s quality and is industry standard. Fine silver (99.9% pure) is too soft and malleable for producing functional objects and suffers too much damage. It quickly tarnishes when exposed to hydrogen sulphide in the air. The alloy gives it strength and makes it more resistant to scratching and damage.
If an item is stamped with anything other than 925, it is NOT sterling silver.
- "999" or "FS" is pure, unprocessed silver.
- "900" is coin quality. It is harder and still good quality but not sterling silver.
- "750" & "825" are not sterling silver either. They are what tableware and cutlery is made from and you should not be paying top price.
- "SP" means the item has been silver plated. It has a silver coating that has been electroplated onto a base of metal, producing a more affordable item. The silver tends to rub off when wearing silver-plated jewellery, forever ruining the piece and often leaving unsightly marks on your skin.
- "Oxidized silver" is darker than other types of silver with little or no lustre. It is created through a process of controlled oxidation where silver is exposed to environmental factors that cause tarnish. It requires less maintenance that other silver as further tarnish simply makes the item more beautiful.
Note: Other countries have different grades of silver and you will need to check before purchasing. You may come across terms including: Indian silver, Omtana silver, Mexican silver or Taxo silver.
Alpaca/Alpacca silver and German silver contain NO silver at all. They consist of nickel, copper and zinc and polish to a bright silver-like finish. Nickle is a known skin irritant and those with sensitivities should avoid wearing this jewellery.
At Shiny Pleasures, we only sell genuine solid sterling silver jewellery with the 925 hallmark so you can shop with confidence knowing that you are buying quality.
If you would like to see our latest designs, check out our eBay store at http://stores.ebay.com.au/Shiny-Pleasures-Jewellery
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