Fine Silver versus Sterling Silver
Sterling Silver is an alloy (mix) of 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% other elements (mostly copper). This has been the alloy of choice for silver jewellers for centuries. The reason for alloying silver is because the pure metal – also known as ‘Fine Silver’ or 999 Silver – is very soft and not hard-wearing enough for making fine jewellery. Fine silver is mostly used only for the bezels used to set stones, as it is soft enough to be easily pushed over the stone to hold it in place. Alloying with copper adds strength while preserving the beauty of the precious metal. Sterling silver is often referred to as ‘925 silver’ being 925 parts per thousand silver, and the 925 mark appears on the Sterling silver hallmark.