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  • Writer's pictureAccent Jewelers

Sterling Silver versus Plated Silver; What’s the difference?

Accent Buys Sterling Silver

One of the items we see and purchase a significant amount of at Accent Jewelers in Memphis is sterling silver. However, we also often have customers bring in plated silver and want to know what the difference is.

The Difference Between Sterling Silver and Plated Silver

Well, Sterling Silver is considered a precious metal alloy given it consists of 92.5% pure silver. For this reason, you will often find sterling silver jewelry and flatware stamped with the number “925”. If you are trying to determine if your silver is plated or sterling, look for the “925” marking. This almost always means you have sterling silver.

On the other hand, plated silver consists of a base metal (usually copper, brass, or nickel) that is coated with a thin layer of silver. The silver coating is much thinner than the layer in sterling silver items. In plated silver, the silver layer can often be similar to that of a layer of fingernail polish. For this reason, it is not nearly as valuable as sterling silver and is often not desirable for reselling except to certain collectors.

Sterling Silver is More Durable

In addition to the inherent difference in value due to the variation in pure silver content, sterling silver is also considered to be more durable and less prone to wear and tarnish when compared to plated silver. Sterling silver can withstand daily use and is less likely to chip, flake, or wear down over time. Even still, one may often find sterling silver that has been ‘weighted’ or has another component used to give the item heft or durability. Examples include candelabras that will often have weighted bases, or sterling silver knives, which often have stainless steel blades and sterling silver handles. The presence of weighting or other components intended to enhance durability is something we look for and are skilled at identifying and accounting for when making offers for sterling silver items.

Sell Your Sterling Silver to Accent in Memphis!

Regardless of whether you are 100% certain you have sterling silver or just really have no idea, feel free to bring your items by our store located at 5050 Poplar Avenue in Memphis, TN. We will be happy to evaluate and let you know what you have. If you are interested in selling your items of sterling silver, we will make you an offer on the spot! If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us, and remember, Accent always pays more!


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