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What is sterling silver as opposed to pure silver?
Silver items are manufactured of an alloy (a mixture) of metals. The main metal used is silver and the remaining portions is a mixture of other metals, usually copper. Sterling silver is indicative of having a mixture consisting of 92.5% silver and 7.5% other metals.

Is .925 silver the same as sterling silver?
Yes. .925 silver means that the item is made up of 925/1000 silver, and 75/1000 other metals - equaling 92.5% silver and 7.5% other metals - just like sterling.

Is sterling silver considered "pure silver"?
Yes. Nowadays, the international standard for silver items is the "sterling" standard. If there is too much silver in the alloy the items will be too soft and malleable.

Can I get items that have a higher silver content than sterling?
Not really. The standard used by all major manufacturers nowadays is sterling.

What is the difference between sterling silver and silver plated items?
The major difference that will be immediately noticed is in the price of the item. Sterling items are much more expensive, but they will hold on to their value over time. Silver plated items are far cheaper, but the items become worthless very quickly. In terms of how the items feel, sterling items are generally lighter than silver plated items of the same size. This is due to the inherent value of the silver - leading to using less of the metal in the manufacturing process. Silver plating is a chemical process that adds a very thin layer of silver to the item, which is made of a different metal. This allows the manufacturer to make heavier items out of cheaper metals.

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