In the world of jewelry, there is a lot of terminology used to understand the quality of a ring. On your ring you may find stamped into it a variety of letters and numbers. For example GP (gold plated), 18K (75% pure gold) or s925. But what does s925 mean?
Simply put, s925 means sterling silver. The ‘925’ means that it is 92.5% pure silver. The other 7.5% is made from a different metal, typically copper. This is the most commonly found notation across silver jewelry.
Is It A Good Sign When You See S925 On Jewelry?
When you see s925 on your ring it means that it is genuine high quality silver. The silver standard in the US is 92.5% silver, this is also the case in some other countries such as the UK and Denmark.
While this standard has been around since the 1300s, it wasn’t until the 1900s when Tiffany & Co. made it a popular choice for jewelry.
Sterling silver is a popular choice for men’s jewelry all around the world. Not only is it stylish, but it is also kind to those who have sensitive skin or allergies.
S925 Vs 925
There is no difference between these labels, the 925 composition is unique to sterling silver so you won’t find other metals with this label. You may also see it stamped as ‘sterling’, ‘ss’ or ‘ster’.
Even without the number these stamps do still indicate the silver standard of 92.5% silver.
Cleaning Sterling Silver
When it is real silver (s925), rings are easy to clean. It can be done so with a jewelry polish or simply by the home-made mixture of baking soda and water.
If that doesn’t work there is a harsher version where the baking soda is mixed with white vinegar instead.
However, when sterling silver is tarnished it can turn dark gray in color. This may be appealing to some people who want a more rustic looking ring.
What If You See S925 On Gold Jewelry?
Unfortunately if you see this stamp on gold jewelry that means it is not real gold. It means that it is gold plated sterling silver. This is a cheaper alternative to solid gold but the plating will wear off over time.
How To Spot Fakes
Sterling silver jewelry is generally a cheaper option so it is not often you will find fakes on the market. But, if you are concerned, below are some ways to tell if your ring is fake.
- Silver is easy to bend, not break. If you can bend it easily, it’s silver. Of course this is quite an intrusive way to find out if it’s fake.
- For a less intrusive way you could lightly scratch it with a needle, if it marks its silver. If the needle slides right off then it is probably plated copper.
- When dropped on the ground silver sounds dull rather than the higher and sharper noise expected from most metals.
- S925 will typically not turn your finger green. There are of course rare cases when the unknown 7.5% composition may turn your finger green.
- Unlike other metals, sterling silver isn’t magnetic.
- Real sterling silver leaves a black mark behind when rubbed on a soft cloth.
Why Sterling Silver And Not Silver?
You may be mistaken in the idea that sterling silver is 92.5% silver so that makes it the same as pure silver(also known as fine silver), but that is not the case. That 7.5% of other metals can create all the difference.
Firsty the addition of other metals allow the ring to be durable. In its pure form, silver is a soft metal so that means that it is easy to damage.
While copper (the most commonly added metal) can speed up the tarnishing process, some metals can be added to reduce it. But as previously stated, sterling silver is easy to clean.
Sterling silver is the cheaper option because it has less silver in it than pure silver. Despite the cheaper price tag, sterling still looks just as good as silver. It is a durable and affordable option to still get a stunning ring.
Pure silver is difficult to shape because of its soft nature, it is not used to make fine or delicate jewelry. Pure silver jewelry can’t be overused whereas sterling silver is good for everyday use.
Fine silver will be stamped with ‘999’, ‘.999’ or ‘99.9’. Like sterling silver, this is to indicate it is 99.9% silver with 0.01% trace elements.
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