What is "Sterling Silver"?

  • Feb 6 2015
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We are frequently asked if our Sterling Silver products are solid - this is a fair question in this particular industry as metal purity is confusing in and of itself. To further obfuscate the issue, many sellers misrepresent their items to increase their sales. We're here to clear up the issue.

The law states that Sterling is a quality mark which is supposed to meet the regulatory standard that 92.5% of the product is Silver. This means that items advertised as sterling over base metal is an unlawful use of the term 'sterling' as the Silver content of the item is probably less than 1%. That's quite a difference in metal purity!! Other misleading terms consumers may see in the market include "Sterling Plated", "Sterling Silver Plated" or "Sterling Filled".

All of these examples are made using a smaller amount of silver (if indeed any) over a larger amount of some other base metal are misapplying the word Sterling. Please note that like gold filled, sterling silver filled does have a higher silver content than plated items, but it is not 92.5% Silver.

Furthermore, many vendors advertise solid sterling but in fact their products will not meet the standard of 92.5 percent content of silver. This is known as undercarating. This is also an unlawful practice, but much harder to spot. When you see the term "Sterling Plate" or "Sterling Plated" used you will not get a product with "Sterling Silver". A good indication that products are misrepresented are if the seller uses incorrect terminology in their listings.

You may be asking yourself, how can I test my metal for purity? Acid testing may not get an accurate reading, although you will learn to become pretty close with experience, fresh supplies (acid) and using authentic metal purity, hallmarked items to use as a comparison bench mark. We will talk more about testing in another article.

Good luck, thanks for reading and happy beading.


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