Silver is one of the most popular metals in the world, used for a variety of purposes like jewelry making, silverware, photography, dentistry, currency, optical equipment, medical purposes, etc. But pure silver is difficult to mold and work with as it is too delicate. This is the reason why silver alloys which have other metals added to the pure metal are sought after.
What is 925 Silver?
We generally identify this type of silver as sterling silver. This alloy of silver. It is called 925 silver because the jewelry has 92.5% silver content, which is strengthened by the presence of 7.5% of other metals like copper, zinc, etc.
The reason for sterling silver being denoted as 925 and not 92.5% is because of the system of denotation known as millesimal fineness, which denotes the purity of the metal alloys (silver, gold and platinum) by parts per thousand of pure metal mass in the alloy.
Pure silver, which is 99.9% silver, which is found naturally in earth cannot be used to make silver jewelry and cannot be crafted, as it is too soft. Silver and gold are both very malleable and ductile metals that need to be strengthened with other metals.
While traditionally, 7.5% of copper is used to strengthen silver making it possible to craft it, there are other metals like germanium, platinum, zinc, silicon, and boron, that are also used in order to strengthen silver and contribute to the metal with other properties, like reduction in the porous nature of the metal, reducing the possibility of tarnish, and ensuring that the silver does not develop fire stains (red or purple stains) due to the reaction of copper with oxygen.
While the competition to produce such tarnish and fire stain resistant silver has increased, there is still no replacement for copper as the standard metal used to reinforce silver and manufacture jewelry and various other products. Value of the silver in terms of quality is very high and it is one of the most popular silver alloys in the market.
The durability that silver is given due the addition of a strengthening metal and the beauty of silver makes sterling silver very sought after to make silver jewelry and other silver objects.
Value of 925 Silver
The copper metal that is added to the silver does not have any effect whatsoever on the value. In fact, when you go to purchase any object that has been crafted out of silver, the worth depends on the price of silver, the labor charges, and the craftsmanship involved in making the jewelry.
The value is determined by the quality mark on the metal. 925 is just one of the quality marks for this silver alloy. Other marks that are accepted in the market are sterling, sterling silver, solid silver, and ster. If marked with these terms, then the silver is acceptable according to the standards specified by the US government.
The mark is supposed to be complemented by a registered trademark and the maker's mark. The National Gold and Silver Marketing Act though, specifies that these marks are not necessary on the metal. This is because of the high costs incurred in registering a trademark which may shoot over USD 1000. There are also many designs and size of the designs that do not allow for the stamp of the mark.
The cost of silver as a metal, including 925 silver had plummeted in the year 2008, crashing by almost 58% of its then value, due to the effects of the economic downturn. The value of the metal is now experiencing an upswing.