What is sterling silver? Is it different from fine silver?

What is sterling silver? Is it different from fine silver?

2 minute read

What is sterling silver? It's an alloy that consists of 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% other metals, usually copper.
Pure silver, known as fine silver or .999 silver, is very soft and easily damaged when worn. The addition of a small percentage of copper hardens the silver and increases durability. For this reason, sterling silver is the industry standard for silver jewellery.

What is sterling silver? 925 hallmarkAlso known as .925 silver (925 in 1000 parts fine silver), sterling silver has a beautiful finish that can be brought to a mirror polish. It can also be oxidised (blackened) with liver of sulfur.
Sterling silver earrings with textured, brush finish

The history of sterling silver

In 1275, a statute enacted by King Edward I ordered that sterling silver must contain 92.5% fine silver and 7.5% alloy, usually copper. This legal definition has remained and sterling silver items weighing 7.78g or over made and sold in the UK today must still be assayed and officially hallmarked by one of the Assay Offices. This is not a requirement in Australia so each jeweller marks pieces his or herself. 

Sterling silver cuff bracelet with oxidised finish

Will sterling silver tarnish?

Yes, over time sterling silver will tarnish. This natural process occurs as sterling silver is exposed to the air. Wearing your sterling silver jewellery is the best way to prevent tarnish.

To prevent tarnish - or remove it once it has occurred - simply polish regularly with a silver polishing cloth.

We sell jewellery polishing cloths with our other jewellery accessories. These cloths can be used to polish gold, silver, brass, bronze, copper, and hardwood.

Sterling Silver and Gold Polishing Cloth

Sterling Silver and Gold Polishing Cloth


This is a 4" x 5" (approximately 10cm x 12.5cm) silver polishing cloth. It can be used to remove tarnish and clean and polish silver, gold, brass, copper, bronze and even hardwood.   How to use a silver polishing cloth To… read more

How to care for sterling silver

Sterling silver jewellery can be worn every day but requires some basic care. It shouldn't be worn in swimming pools or be exposed to chemicals, especially bleach. When not being worn, it should be stored in a box or airtight bag to prevent tarnish.

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