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Aug11

What is Sterling Silver?

Since all our jewelery is made using Sterling silver, I decided to use today’s blog post to answer the question

What exactly is sterling silver?

Sterling silver is made up of 92.5% pure silver which is mixed with another metal usually copper. This combination of two or more metals is known as an alloy. In the case of sterling silver there must be a minimum of 925 parts silver in every 1,000. That’s why a sterling silver hallmark bears the number 925. Pure silver or Fine silver as it is often called is made up of 99.9% and therefore the hallmark has the number 999.

Dublin Assay Office Irish Hallmarks ListIrish Hallmarks

You might be thinking why would you mix pure silver with a cheaper metal base metal?

Pure silver is generally considered not suitable for producing functional items. The reason for this is pure silver is very soft and therefore can bend or break easily. The quantity of copper added gives the silver strength so that your sterling silver jewelry is more durable for years of wear. This also means that the silver is easier for the silversmith to manipulate and form into items of jewelery. The small quantity of coper added ensures that the silver is still malleable and easy to work with. The other reason is that pure silver tarnishes very quickly, while sterling silver will not tarnish as easily.

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