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Friday, July 08, 2011

Silverware - Solid Sterling Not Plated

A silver plated item refers to an item that has a thin coating of silver plated onto a base metal. The silver coating can be a few ten-thousandths of an inch and will typically be used over base metal with lower value than silver. On the other hand, a sterling silver item is solid silver, with about 92.5 per cent or more of the pure metal.

In a nutshell therefore, sterling silver carries more pure silver than a silver plated item. Various methods can be used in determining the differences between sterling silver and plated silver. Some of the most effective testing methods include the use of X-Ray Florescence. However, there are other test kits and methods that can as well be used to distinguish between the two.

Silverware typically refers to materials made from silver, whether cutlery or utensils. However, when silver is mixed with other metals, the product is called sterling silver. The mixing of silver with other metals is typically geared towards strengthening it, since silver is a soft, malleable metal. Sterling silver is generally accepted as the Silver Standard globally.

As earlier stated; sterling silver will typically be made of 92.5 per cent pure silver and 7.5 per cent of other base metal. Base metals used in the making of sterling silver include copper, Zinc and platinum. However, copper is a most commonly preferred and widely used base metal. The use of Zinc and Platinum is mostly necessitated by the need to strengthen the silver. Copper is currently used as the standard base metal in sterling silver. Sterling silver carries a hallmark of 925, Stg, Ster, Sterling or Sterling silver. Any items that have no hallmark are silver plated.

Silver plated items have little or no silver in them. Most items of silver in the market, especially lowly priced utensils and cutlery are silver plated and contain very little of pure silver. Silver plated items are therefore not solid and will generally have lesser value and purity levels.

Currently, most of the world’s supply of silver-plate cutlery is made from base metals like copper, zinc and nickel. These base metals will typically be coated with silver layer. Stainless steel items are the most widely used forms ofsilverware. As caution, perhaps it is better to be warned that whereas cutlery or utensils may claim silver content, they may not have any silver at all, or little of the same.

When buying cutlery and utensils, be careful what you buy. The fact that a material is silverware does not mean it contains pure silver. As explained here above, it may actually contain more of base metals such as copper and zinc that actual silver.

Posted by Caitlyn Diamond at 11:31 AM 0 Comments