Sterling Silver Hallmarks
Identifying items with Sterling Silver Hallmarks :
To purchase sterling silver in the form of jewelry, silverware, candelabras, antiques or accents one must understand the concept of sterling silver. Sterling silver is an alloy of silver containing 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% other metals, usually copper.
Any “silver” without a suitable Sterling silver hallmark guarantee should be treated as “white metal” as there is no guarantee as to how much silver the metal contains.
How To Identify Sterling Silver Hallmarks
Identifying and authenticating antique and period jewelry proposed to be Sterling Silver is based on experience and knowledge. The minimum fineness is 925 or 92.5 % purity.
The most common marking for Sterling Silver are as follows:
- Sterling Silver
The difficulty with hallmarking systems other than those of the United Kingdom and North America are that in most cases one cannot pinpoint the manufacture to a specific year, but instead to a range of years during which the company was in business
* Quick Tip: *
One way to give yourself alittle reassurance in testing an item for silver content is to use a magnet, simply touch the magnet to the item in question.
A strong magnet enables you to make a first test for real silver, gold or platinum quickly and efficiently. Neither gold, silver, nor platinum are magnetic, and if an item is strongly attracted to a magnet, you can set it aside as it has no value as a precious metal.
Why Sterling Silver?
Sterling silver is used is because fine silver (99.9% pure) is too soft for producing large functional objects, and in Sterling the silver is usually alloyed with copper to give strength whilst preserving the ductility of the silver and high precious metal content.
Other Kinds Of Silver Hallmarks
Fine silver: It is 99.9% silver or better. This grade of silver is used to make bullion bars for international commodities trading.
Britannia silver: It is purer than sterling, at least 95.84% silver and up to 4.16% copper.
Mexican silver: This is also purer than sterling, usually 95% Silver and 5% Copper though Much of the currently produced silver jewelry and other decorative silver objects made in Mexico at the present time are made according to the Sterling, i.e. 92.5% silver, standard, and are marked “Sterling”.
North American Coin silver:
- U.S. dimes, quarters, half dollars and dollars contain 90% silver and 10% copper as dictated by United States FTC guidelines.
- Canadian Coinage pre 1967 dimes, quarters, half dollars and dollars contain approximately 72.5% silver.
German silver: German silver is several silver standards used in Germany. However, the most common standard for silverware and decorative silver object is the 800 standard i.e. 80% pure silver. Hence, when the term German silver is used, it is usually referred to as the 800 standard. Another silver standard in use is the 900 standard. German silver objects are usually marked with 800 or 900 marks.
Interested in selling your Sterling Silver? Click here to go from Sterling Silver Hallmarks page to learn how to sell your sterling silver Canada wide.
Coming Soon: How To Clean Silver Jewelry
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