What are The Difference between Sterling Silver and Silver Plated?

Posted by aridnorman on September 9th, 2017

Gold crystal cat jewellery UK is pretty straight forward but when faced with the choice between sterling silver and plated silver, recognizing the difference is essential in allowing you to make the best decision. As you will soon find out, you are better off buying sterling silver than plated.

Sterling Silver

Any item purporting to be made from sterling silver must have a silver content of at least 92.5 percent. This percentage is as pure as you can expect to get on jewellery or other items since pure silver is too soft to be crafted into anything. An alloy, usually copper is added to the silver to make it possible to mould and cast into jewellery or other item. If you are looking for a gift, specialist personalized silver christening gifts UK is your best bet. 

Silver Plated

A silver plated piece of jewellery or item simply means that it has a layer of silver on top of another base metal such as nickel, copper, white metal or brass. This layer of silver is so small that a jeweller who melts down jewellery for its precious metal content wouldn’t touch plated silver. The reason is that the process of melting and extracting the silver is more expensive than the actual silver he could extract.

Telling the Difference between the Two

Fortunately, it is fairly easy to tell between genuine sterling silver and silver pated materials. For one, sterling silver pendants UK cannot be legally labelled or marketed with the words "sterling silver" unless they contain at least 92.5 percent pure silver. Be ware of the term "Sterling Silver layering" or any other such description. Some unscrupulous dealers find ingenious ways to include the words sterling silver in their jewellery or gifts to confuse naïve shoppers.

The price is also a very good indicator of whether or not you are looking at sterling silver. Although this metal is a lot cheaper that gold and platinum, you can still expect to pay a fair market price. Silver plated jewellery is often very cheap. If the deal sounds too good, you are probably looking at silver plated.

Finally, look out for labels such as Silver on Copper, EPNS and EP. You will never see these terms used to describe or printed on real sterling silver jewellery. Unless the item is expressly labelled and marketed as sterling silver, you are better off doing some more investigation before buying.

It is your responsibility to buy from a reputable jewellery dealer to ensure that you are buying the real thing. Only sterling silver should be labelled as such but there is nothing to stop a fraudster from labelling his cheap, silver plated jewellery like the real thing. As long as you are buying from a genuine dealer, you shouldn’t be too concerned about whether or not you are buying a genuine piece.

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