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Sterling Silver Jewelry Buying Guide

About Sterling Silver

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What is Sterling Silver?

Sterling silver is one of the top precious metals used for jewelry — a style staple for men’s and women’s jewelry, used in everything from earrings to rings to necklaces and more. Nothing’s better than a classic, so explore the styles and uses of sterling silver.

Sterling Silver vs. Silver

Sterling silver and silver sometimes get confused for each other, but they are metals that behave very differently. The main characteristic that separates these metals is their level of silver content. Sterling silver jewelry is 92.5% pure silver, while silver is 99.9% pure silver. Reputable jewelers stamp their pieces with either a 999 or 925 so you know if your jewelry is silver or sterling silver, respectively.

With that in mind, silver and sterling silver metals behave differently because of their different purity levels. Silver is very soft, so it does not mold well and is so malleable that finished pieces can be easily bent. Sterling silver’s reduced purity makes it easier to shape, more affordable, and more durable for everyday wear.

Sterling Silver History

We know pure silver dates back to antiquity, but sterling silver also has a surprisingly long history. How do we know when sterling silver became widely used? We get an idea based on the records of assay offices in countries like France and England. Assay offices are institutions whose job is to test and certify the purity of precious metals. We see sterling silver begin to be certified as a precious metal in 1300, following a statute by King Edward I.

Sterling silver was also valuable to the early industries of Colonial America. Sterling silver was used for everything from housewares to actual currency. Fun fact: famous Revolutionary War hero Paul Revere was one the most successful and sought-after silversmiths in the United States during colonial times.

Sterling Silver Characteristics

Precious metals are defined by their luxurious beauty and classic style. Review sterling silver jewelry’s key characteristics and see if this metal is right for you.


Sterling silver is a durable precious metal. It can be scratched by harder metals but is good overall for everyday wear. Does sterling silver tarnish? Unfortunately, yes, so keep in mind this metal needs some extra care and attention.


Sterling silver is known for its bright white to grayish white metallic luster.


Sterling silver jewelry has a standard weight, comparable to other precious metals.

The Facts on Sterling Silver

Looking for jewelry that stuns, and want to know the facts about sterling silver? Here’s our summary:

Durable metal for everyday wear Does tarnish when exposed to air and moisture
Budget friendly, more affordable precious metal Not 100% hypoallergenic; may contain zinc or nickel
Easy to resize and repair Less intrinsic value compared to pure silver

Sterling Silver Care

Sterling silver is popular for its cool luster, but it does require some maintenance. As always, it’s best to store any jewelry separately in a lined box or soft pouch to avoid scratching or being scratched. You can buy tarnish-preventing bags to protect your sterling silver. When cleaning, you can use silver jewelry cleaner with a soft cloth to buff off tarnish, then rinse your jewelry in warm water and dry.

Shop Sterling Silver Jewelry

Explore jewelry designs featuring the precious metal, sterling silver. Sterling silver jewelry’s lustrous shine and brilliant color endures in beautiful rings, earrings, necklaces, bracelets, charms, and sets.

Sterling Silver Rings

Sterling silver rings are crafted beautifully and have a radiant shine. Find the ring you will treasure today, and in the years, to come.


Sterling Silver Earrings

Make a statement with the unique metal sterling silver earrings in drop, hoop, and stud styles


Sterling Silver Necklaces

Feel the luxury of a sterling silver necklace next to your heart in gorgeous pendants and classic chains.


Sterling Silver Bracelets

Gorgeous styles for precious metals you’ll love. Explore original bracelet designs in sterling silver.


Sterling Silver Charms

Add some extra sparkle to your style with sterling silver charms for jewelry


Sterling Silver Sets

Enjoy sterling silver’s brilliant shine in sets featuring your favorite jewelry.


Speak to a Jewelry Expert

In-person, chat session, or phone call — we’re here to help you find jewelry you’ll love.

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