What is pure silver?
If you want to spend money on a silver piece of jewelery, you want to be sure that it is made of genuine silver. But what then is real silver?
What is meant by real silver in everyday speech is sterling silver, which consists of 92.5% silver, and the rest consists mostly of copper and sometimes a little zinc. This is done because silver in its basic form is so soft that it is difficult to handle as a material for jewelry. Sterling silver is also called 925 silver or just 925.
Below I clarify the most common forms of real silver and also explain other names around silver, such as that nickel silver does not contain any silver at all despite its name.
Whar is genuine silver then?
Sterling silver is an alloy consisting of 92.5% (925/1000) silver. The rest is mainly copper and exceptionally zinc. The reason why silver must be combined with other metals is that it is very difficult to make magnificent motifs with just pure silver, which is very soft and malleable. A bit of the hardness must be added by adding other metals.
Fine silver is pure, unalloyed silver. 100% silver, or rather technically pure silver is called 999.9 / 1000 silver. Fine silver is very soft and is used in solid form (sheet metal, etc.) as details in the jewelery, furniture and textile industries. The main use of fine silver is as electrodes or dissolved in cyanide solution in silvering in the electronics and jewelry industry, as an alloying metal in gold, as a coin metal and in the form of ingots as an investment object for central banks, companies and individuals. Fine silver is an approved dye and is also used in the food industry on, for example, pastries and caramels.
835 is the purity mark of European silver, which is 83.5% silver and 16.5% copper.
Britannia silveris an alloy of 95.8% silver and 4.2% copper. Usually used for jewelry and cutlery
Mexikan silver is 95% silver and 5% copper
Nickel silver is an alloy that usually consists of copper, zinc and nickel or brass plated with a thin layer of real silver. Nickel silver is sometimes also German silver in English.
Despite the name and its extremely silvery appearance, nickel silver contains no silver at all. It is the nickel that gives the nickel silver its characteristic silvery gray color.
However, nickel silver does not have to consist of the above-mentioned mixture. In fact, there are no rules or guidelines for which metals nickel silver should consist of. Nickel silver can thus be a bit of anything. A common metal mixture in nickel silver is three parts copper, some zinc and some nickel which is then covered with a thin layer of real silver by electroplating. Nickel silver plated with real silver is sometimes called argentina or alpaca.
Rhodium, is a method of plating by electrolysis, coating objects with a surface of rhodium. The object or surface of the object must be electrically conductive in order to be electrolytically plated. The method is mainly used by jewelery manufacturers and goldsmiths in the repair and new production of white gold or silver objects, but is also used in industrial production of catalysts, electronic components and research instruments. The method is also a way to prevent oxidation of silver objects as well as surface treatment of counterfeit jewellery and jewellery to imitate precious metal objects. It is also possible to blacken with a black surface as the end result, but is not as common.
Tibetian silver is an alloy of copper with tin or nickel. sometimes even cast iron covered with silver-colored metal. This is a term that is often used when selling cheaper jewellery online