Silver is one of the most versatile metals on the planet. It is highly conductive, which makes it usefully in electronics and in wiring. It also has antibacterial properties that are increasingly being applied to prevent food and water spoilage and to treat infection. But probably the most visible use of silver is as jewelry and flatware. The most common form of silver for these uses is sterling silver, which is defined as silver of 92.5 percent purity or higher that is not fine silver.
The standard content of sterling silver is 92.5 percent (.925) silver and 7.5 percent copper. The presence of the copper increases the hardness of the alloy, making it less likely to bend. It also slows down the rate of oxidation so silver jewelry and flatware doesn’t tarnish as quickly as fine silver. Sterling silver is usually identified with a marking of 925 or ster on the bottom or rear of a sterling silver piece.
Fine Silver For Women
Investment grade, or fine, silver is 99.9 percent (.999) pure or better. The Silver Maples produced by the Royal Canadian Mint are 99.99 percent (.9999) pure silver. But pure silver has some qualities that can be undesirable in particular applications.
It is soft and bendable, and oxidizes easily producing a tarnish. Jewelry makers and other users of silver often mix silver with other metal to make it more suitable for their purposes. Silver of between 92.5 percent purity and fine is called sterling silver.