Sterling Silver vs Silver-Plated Jewelry

Sterling silver is a bright white metal, prized for its brilliant luster. Polished sterling silver jewelry shines more brightly than any other metal jewelry. Pure silver is too soft for jewelry, so it's usually mixed with a small amount of copper to harden it. This creates an alloy known as "sterling silver". Sterling silver is 925 parts silver and 75 parts copper. Sterling silver jewelry is stamped 925. This is a hallmark used to indicate its purity.

Silver plate, by contrast, is a layer of silver over a base metal. Silver-plated jewelry cannot be called sterling silver or bear a 925 hallmark.

Photo Gallery: (Sterling Silver Jewelry) Cable Cuff Bracelets; James Avery Pendant Necklace (Retired); Openwork Ring

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