What does ‘925 Silver’ mean? What is ‘Sterling Silver’? Why are some things hallmarked?

Lulu Silver Link Bracelet

What does ‘925 silver’ mean?  Why are some things hallmarked?

We are often asked by our clients what it means when something is described as ‘925 silver’ and if it is different from Sterling Silver?  So we thought we’d explain.

Whether something is described as ‘925 silver’ or ‘sterling’ silver, the percentage of pure silver is the same.  It is 92.5% for both.  You can’t use fine silver for jewellery because its 99.9% purity makes it too soft for making anything functional.  To make it workable, silver is therefore mixed, in extremely small part, with an alloy (usually copper) to give it strength.  This is what alters the percentage and produces the 92.5 figure.  You’ll find ‘925’ stamped on each piece.  

The ‘sterling’ description comes from when it is hallmarked.   Hallmarking – used in some countries – is used to validate the purity of the silver.  If an individual piece of 92.5 silver weighs more than 7.78 grams it should be hallmarked.   We have our own Flutterby hallmark which is registered with the Assay Office in London and you’ll find on some of our heavier pieces.   Hallmarks are also used for gold and platinum.

We describe our jewellery as ‘925’ and ‘sterling silver’ to show that it is not silver plated.  When we talk about gold we describe it as gold vermeil which is gold plated over 925 silver rather than base metal.  This can be hallmarked too but more of that in another post…

If you’d like to find our more or ask us any questions then do get in touch.

Lou and Sal x