WHAT IS STERLING SILVER?
There are a couple terms used frequently to describe the silver content in pieces manufactured in silver. We are familiar with the terms sterling silver, and the identification mark of .925 on various silver items but do you know what they mean?
Sterling silver is actually an alloy, composed of 92.5% silver, and 7.5% of other metals added. The .925 stamp commonly applied is directly based on this ratio and is a convenient means to identify sterling silver. Typically, but not always, the metal added is copper. The best sterling silver therefore is composed of pure silver and pure copper in this ratio, as has been the practice for centuries.
Silver by itself is a very soft, precious metal. Too soft in fact to be fashioned into coins, jewellery, silverware and other common objects. The addition of copper provides the required added strength and ductility necessary to craft silver into many fine things. It is the addition of copper, however, which causes sterling silver to have the tendency to tarnish. Pure silver does not tarnish.