what is sterling silver?

by Christine
(USA)

I am new to making jewelry and I hear so much about using Sterling Silver. What is the difference between pure silver and sterling silver?



Answer:

Sterling silver is often characterized as pure silver, when in fact it is a silver alloy. Pure silver, also called fine silver, is defined as 99.9% pure silver, but is too soft for most uses. Sterling silver contains 92.5% silver, with the remaining 7.5% being another metal, most often copper. The addition of the less costly metal - often called a base metal - serves to harden the resulting alloy so that the metal can be cast into shapes that it will retain with use.

I hope this info helps.
Sara from LoveBeads 2011.

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More info about sterling silver wire
by: Anonymous

You might want to do some research into (1) dead soft wire and (2)half hard wire. This is probably the most useful info for someone just getting into jewelry design.

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Sterling silver vs Pure silver
by: Benjamin's Crafts

Pure silver or fine silver has no added anything. It has no copper and therefore is tarnishing very slowly (goes to yellow in colour). Hardness is not an issue here and both wires can be bought as soft, half hard, or hard. The hardness is determined by the anealing of the wire. Sterling Silver is generally refered to as 925, meaning that 925 parts are pure silver and the other 25 parts are copper or some other suitable metal. The 25 parts are added so that the melting temperature is raised of the material and therefore other alloyed wire with different mixtures of metals can be used as solder. Now, although 925 is in the general mind of most people, today the amount of pure silver is slightly higher, less copper is used, and more exotic metals are added into the mix to create special alloys that tarnish less. These are now sold under trademarks such as Germanium etc. I think there are now 6 or 7 versions of these special "sterling Silver" alloys. These require also their own solders.

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Pure 999 NEW
by: Anonymous

999 silver is definitely not too soft to make jewelry. In fact, it is allergen free as well so even people with sensitive skin can wear it. One site that sells amazing 999 silver necklaces is www.viejewelry.com. I have bought a couple from them, and will never go back to sterling silver. 999 silver is so shiny too!

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