Sterling or Not Sterling, What is the Difference?

October 14, 2020

Most people think of silver as the shiny metal that takes second place to gold. But silver is a beautiful metal that has been used since 3,200 BC in Israel, Turkey and Greece, but since the Europeans landed in on the New World in 1492, it has been mined on a massive scale. Silver, like gold, forms in star explosions called supernovae. People are very familiar with silver in jewellery, but it is also used in many other industries. For example, silver made early photography possible. But one fact about silver that is obscure for most is that there are many different silver types.

One of the most commonly known types of silver is Sterling silver. But what is the difference between Sterling and fine silver?

Fine silver is as pure as silver will ever get. It is graded at .999, which corresponds to a purity of 99.9%. The remaining 0.1% is composed of trace elements. Fine silver displays a higher lustre than sterling. The problem with fine silver is that it is a “soft” metal that will scratch and dent easily. Therefore it is not suitable for most jewelry that can be bumped or scratched, such as rings and bracelets. Nevertheless, in earrings and necklaces, using fine silver is acceptable.

On the other hand, Sterling silver is traditionally an alloy made of 92.5% silver with copper or zinc as the residual 7.5%. Sterling silver is the standard for silver in most world markets. This type of silver is harder than fine silver, bright, and shiny. Unfortunately, it can tarnish. Although it is possible to delay the tarnishing, it is impossible to prevent it. The good news is that it is easy to clean and maintain by using appropriate cleaning and polishing products. Today, we use Sterling silver with palladium, which does not tarnish, but this alloy’s cost is significantly higher. Nevertheless, it remains a good alternative to white gold.

SERAFINO offers magnificent Sterling silver-based jewellery on its online store. Please review the MARTELLATA collection.

But if silver is not your thing, we have exclusive, sophisticated, and elegant gold jewellery for you to discover as well!

Visit our online store and discover jewelry elevated to an art form!