Sterling silver and silver-plated jewelry often look similar, but there are some key differences between the two. If you’re looking for a classic way to accessorize your outfits, you may want to consider one type of silver over the other. Keep reading to learn more about the difference between sterling silver and silver-plated jewelry.
What is the difference between sterling silver and silver-plated jewelry?
Sterling silver jewelry is an alloy made up of 92.5 percent silver and 7.5 percent copper or zinc. This type of silver is made with a base metal, such as brass, bronze, or copper, and a small layer of sterling silver that’s electroplated over the top. The thickness of the sterling silver layer determines how long the piece will stay looking new. Sterling tends to be more expensive than silver-plated because it contains more pure silver. Silver-plated jewelry, on the other hand, consists of a thin layer of silver over a less expensive base metal.
The appearance of sterling silver versus silver-plated jewelry can be challenging to distinguish with the naked eye, but there are some telltale signs to look for. The biggest difference between the two is the price tag. Sterling silver is more expensive because it is made of a higher quality precious metal. Silver-plated jewelry is less expensive because it is made of a lower quality base metal and has a thin layer of silver coating it. If you’re trying to see the difference for yourself, sterling silver typically has a brighter shine than silver-plated jewelry since pure silver reflects light more efficiently than other metals. Another way to tell if your jewelry is sterling or just coated in silver is to check for tarnish. Sterling silver doesn’t tarnish as quickly as silver-plated jewelry because they contain different types of metals. If you notice that your jewelry has turned black or green, then it’s likely not sterling silver.
Which type is best for you?
One important factor to consider is how often you wear the jewelry. Sterling silver is more durable than silver-plated jewelry and will last longer if you wear it frequently. This is especially crucial if you plan on wearing your silver in the shower or while working out, as these acts may accelerate the deterioration of silver-plated jewelry. However, if you only plan to wear your jewelry occasionally, silver-plated jewelry may be a better option since it requires less maintenance. Finally, consider your budget. Sterling silver tends to be more expensive than silver-plated jewelry, but it’s worth investing in quality materials because they will last longer and look nicer over time.
How do you care for sterling silver and silver-plated jewelry?
To care for sterling silver jewelry, clean it with mild soap and water. The easiest way to do this is fill a bowl with soapy water and let your jewelry rest in there for a few hours. You can then polish it with a soft cloth to remove any tarnish. Tarnish is a natural occurrence caused by exposure to air and sulfur, so it’s vital to keep your silver polished and clean as much as possible. Silver-plated jewelry should also be cleaned with mild soap and water with the occasional polish if you see signs of discoloration. It’s important to avoid exposing sterling silver or silver-plated jewelry to harsh chemicals, such as bleach, ammonia, or chlorine. These chemicals can damage the metal and cause it to tarnish more quickly. You can help prevent tarnish from occurring by storing your sterling silver jewelry in an airtight container or bag.
Regardless of which silver jewelry you choose, your outfits will feel well accessorized with a cute silver necklace or bracelets. Silver jewelry comes in various styles, so you’re bound to find something you’ll love.