When it comes to silver jewelry, there are a few different types you may encounter: solid sterling silver, plated silver, and filled silver. It's important to understand the differences between these types, as they can affect the value, durability, and overall quality of the piece.
Solid sterling silver is a high-quality type of silver that is made up of at least 92.5% pure silver. It is a strong and durable material that is resistant to tarnish and wear, and it is the most valuable type of silver jewelry. Solid sterling silver is often marked with a hallmark or stamp indicating its purity, such as "925" or "sterling."
Plated silver, on the other hand, is a type of jewelry that has a thin layer of silver applied to a base metal, such as copper or brass. Plated silver is generally less expensive than solid sterling silver, and it is not as durable. Over time, the silver plating can wear off, revealing the base metal beneath. Plated silver may be marked with terms like "silver plate," "silver-plated," or "EP" (electroplated).
Filled silver, also known as "rolled silver," is similar to plated silver, but the silver is applied in a thicker layer. Filled silver is made by bonding a layer of solid silver to a base metal using heat and pressure. While it is more durable than plated silver, it is still not as strong or valuable as solid sterling silver. Filled silver may be marked with terms like "silver-filled," "SF," or "RF."
When shopping for silver jewelry, it's important to be aware of the type of silver you're purchasing. Solid sterling silver is the most durable and valuable option, while plated and filled silver are generally less expensive and less durable. Understanding the differences between these types of silver can help you make an informed decision and choose the best option for your needs.