What’s 925 sterling silver and how to tell if it’s real

Silver jewellery is a popular choice. Picture: Cottonbro Studio / Pexels

Silver jewellery is a popular choice. Picture: Cottonbro Studio / Pexels

Published Apr 24, 2024


For those looking for a more affordable alternative to gold when jewellery shopping, many opt for silver. Besides being cheaper, many people simply prefer it to gold or it suits their skin tone better.

Regardless of the reason for wanting silver instead of gold, one common question that arises when shopping for sterling silver is what the difference between normal silver and 925 sterling silver is.

Normal silver, also known as fine silver, is a pure metal that is 99.9% silver.

It is too soft to be used in its pure form for making jewellery or other items, as it can easily bend and scratch.

To address this issue, silver is often alloyed with other metals to enhance its strength and durability.

Sterling silver, on the other hand, is an alloy consisting of 92.5% silver and 7.5% of another metal, usually copper.

This combination of metals creates a stronger material that is suitable for making jewellery, flatware, and other decorative items.

Sterling silver is used to make jewellery. Picture: Maksgelatin / Pexels

The reason that sterling silver is called “925” silver is because of the 92.5% silver content.

Sterling silver is a popular choice for jewellery and other items due to its durability, lustre, and value.

Here are five ways to tell if sterling silver is real

1. Look for the 925 marking. Genuine sterling silver jewellery will be marked with these three numbers or STERLING or STER.

2. Hold a magnet to the silver. If the magnet sticks, your jewellery is not real sterling silver.

3. Smell the sterling silver. If it smells strongly metallic, then your jewellery is not real sterling silver.

4. Analyse the price tag. If the price of silver jewellery seems too good to be true, it might be and probably is not 925 sterling silver.

5. Take the jewellery to a jeweller. If you want to know that your jewellery is genuine sterling silver beyond a shadow of a doubt, let an expert test it for you.

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