Probably, you have heard about 925 silver that is used in the silver jewelry and you have wondered what that is. Well, first it is a number that is put in front of the sterling silver, but what importance has this thing to you? 925 silver is a standard used by craftsmen and you, as a customer, should know a little about it when you buy a present for someone, and insist that the piece of jewelry you are after conforms to this standard.
Pure silver cannot be used in making jewelry as it is extremely malleable and it can suffer damage easily. It also tends to get very soft, even in conditions of normal temperature. That is why 925 silver is used and not the pure form of the precious metal.
The method craftsmen use to increase the strength of the metal consists of adding other materials to silver. The life span of the jewels made of silver depends on this process, as problems like malleability and softening can make them break apart. By combining pure silver with alloys, the craftsmen make pieces of jewelry that are more resistant to scratching and damage.
One of these combinations is the one known as 925 sterling silver. It is a blending mix obtained from 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper. Copper is not always used by craftsmen and it can be replaced by other metals or combinations of materials. This is considered the best choice as copper is cheap and the refining techniques have improved during the last years.
By adding copper to silver, craftsmen have managed to obtain a highly reliable alloy that is successfully used in the jewelry industry. The combination is very popular as the silver craftsmen can make earrings, rigs, bracelets and other pieces of silver jewelry, knowing that their work will be resistant and durable.
One may think that by adding other metals to pure silver, the quality becomes lower. But this is not the case with 925 silver. This alloy enhances the jewelry properties and copper is only a very small part in the combination. Sometimes, craftsmen can use a copper substitute for a similar result.
So, as a customer, it is good to know if the silver jewel you purchase is made of 925 sterling silver. A way to verify this is by checking the jewels hallmark. In the UK, the 925 silver jewelry is almost entirely hallmarked. For instance, the silver jewelry Purdice complies with all the hallmarking requirements. In other countries, you should check with the national or regional hallmarking body to find out where to buy good quality 925 silver jewelry, in case that the jewelry sellers refuse to inform you about these aspects.
The 925 hallmark represents, in many countries, the fact that the jewel you are buying is of the highest quality.