What is the difference between sterling silver and silver plating?


"Sterling silver" describes an alloy that has silver content of 92.5%. "Silver plating" typically describes a very thin layer of silver that has been adhered on to a conductive object using electrolysis.

Because "fine silver" (99.9% pure) has a softness that often makes it unfit for practical use, other metals, usually copper, may be added to silver to make the metal more functional. Thus, "sterling" makes a useful label, as it denotes silver of 92.5% purity. This silver is pure enough for beauty and ductility, yet hard enough for practical use. The etymology of the term "sterling" has not been definitively traced, but might relate to Old French terms for silver pennies.

Silver plating typically involves using an electrical current to adhere a very thin layer of silver to an electrically conductive object. This can be done for a number of purposes. For example, silver-plated jewelry has the appearance of finer silver, but can be sold for a lower price. Silver plating also has uses in electronics, as silver is very conductive to electricity.

The term "sterling" describes the purity of silver. Thus, this term has little to do with silver plating. True, some objects may be plated with sterling silver, but objects may also be plated with silver of lesser purity. Because silver-plated objects usually have only a very thin coating of silver, a silver-plated object and a sterling silver object of the same size likely have very different values.

Q&A Related to "What is the difference between sterling silver..."
A silver item is normally made of a solid alloy of silver. Pure silver is too soft for use in most items that are subject to average wear (e.g. jewelry) so it has to be combined with
1. Look first for an assay mark. This is a mark that is applied to a piece to indicate that it has reached a legal standard for solid silver; it is a guarantee of quality. On U.S.
Sterling silver is .925 silver with a .075 additive,
Sterling would be solid silver, need to polish every time it is used as it oxidizes quickly. Anything that is plated is covered with a thin layer of the metal it is plated with. This
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Ask.com Answer for: difference between sterling and silver plate
Difference Between Silver Plate & Sterling Silver
Sterling silver is an alloy of silver that is 92.5 percent silver and 7.5 percent other metals, typically copper or nickel, that is used for items such as serving dishes and silverware because pure silver is too soft. Silver plate has substantially less... More »
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