- What is sterling silver?
Sterling silver is 92.5% pure silver, and 7.5% additive, usually copper. Sterling made in the USA after approximately the 1850's always has a sterling mark. It may say Sterling, or .925 or show the fraction 925/1000, or other similar marks. On smaller items markings can be incredibly small, you may need a jewelers loupe to find. It can also be tested with an acid to determine its content. This should only be done by a professional. If in doubt you can always take your pieces to a trusted local jewelry to have them determine if your piece of silver is truly sterling silver.
- What is silver plated ?
Silver plate is the process of bonding an extremely thin layer of pure sterling silver to a base metal, such as copper or brass. It has absolutely no marks to classify it as silver plated. Silver plated items have the bright, shiny finish of silver, though they are usually a bit lighter than sterling silver. Over time with frequent use, and especially if not cared for, the silver plating can wear off.
-What is the difference between sterling silver and silver plated?
Sterling silver contains a much larger amount of pure silver, than silver plated, which is why sterling silver is so much more expensive than plated items. Sterling will last forever if you want to use it and take care of it. Most silver plated will last approximately 20 years or less depending on how frequently used and of course with the proper care.