Knowing the difference between silver, silver plated, and sterling silver jewelry can make a significant difference to the types of pieces you choose to purchase. Price is often a good indicator of an item's makeup, but it isn't always truthful. Tiffany knockoffs, for example, have a wide price range depending on the jeweler you are dealing with and the material it is made with. Even though they all sound the same, there is a significant difference between a silver plated ring and a sterling silver ring.
Pure Silver Jewelry
Even in its purest form, which is 999/1000 parts pure, silver will always contain trace amounts of other elements. Pure silver doesn't make a very high quality jewelry item either. On its own, silver is extremely soft and malleable. This means that it doesn't mold properly in order to create a usable product and whatever shape it did take would never survive. In other words, if a jeweler says his Tiffany knockoffs are 100% silver, he is either lying or they are not worth buying as a wearable item. Instead, look for sterling silver jewelry.
Sterling Silver Jewelry
Unlike pure silver, sterling silver contains another metal mixed in with the silver to give it increased strength and durability. Sterling silver is a mixture of 7.5% alloy such as zinc, nickel, or copper, and 92.5% silver. This type of jewelry will usually be marked with 925, .925, or 92.5% purity somewhere on the piece. It does tarnish, but it has the added benefit of being shinier than silver jewelry. To keep this type of jewelry looking its best, keep it from getting wet and store it in a small, sealed plastic bag when it isn't being worn.
Silver Plated Jewelry
Jewelry said to be ‘silver plated’ means that it is coated with a silver coating, however the material it is actually made with can vary greatly. This method is often used for cheap fashion jewelry that is made of steel or other poor quality metal. Jewelry made with this material often bends, stretches, breaks, and the finish can wear off quickly. If you happen to spot Tiffany knockoffs for example, take the price and the reputation of the jeweler into consideration to decide if they are a good deal.
Some jewelers will coat their sterling silver items with pure silver using an eletroplater to prevent tarnishing while maintaining the quality of their jewelry. The secret to purchasing this style of jewelry is to look for the thickness of the coating. In general, the thicker the coating, the longer it will last so long as it is cared for properly.
Whether you are looking at custom made jewelry or trendy Tiffany knockoffs, knowing the difference between silver, silver plated, and sterling silver jewelry will make recognizing a good deal easier. If you are looking for a fun every-day piece, fashion jewelry is fine. If you are looking for quality, however, look for well-constructed sterling silver items and wear them proudly!
Author is a freelance copywriter. For more information on Sterling Silver Jewelry or Tiffany Knockoffs, visit http://www.overstocksilver.com