Sterling Silver vs. Silver: 5 Key Differences

Two silver rings on a leaf

Most people think of silver and sterling silver as the same thing, but there are actually some key differences between the two. If you’re looking to buy silver jewelry or coins, it’s important to understand the difference so you can buy exactly what you want. 

Here we will discuss five key differences between sterling silver and silver.

What Is Silver?

Silver has a long history of use in jewelry, coins, and other beautiful goods. It is a precious metal. Its sparkle and luster have made it a popular choice for centuries, and its value has made it a symbol of wealth and success. Today, silver is still widely prized for its beauty and usefulness. Electrical engineering, medicine, and photography are just a few of the businesses that employ them.

Due to its abundant supply and relatively low price, silver is another well-liked investment commodity. In addition to its industrial and financial applications, silver also holds great cultural significance. In many cultures, silver is seen as a lucky metal and is often given as a gift to mark special occasions. Whether used for its practical value or symbolic meaning, silver remains one of the world’s most popular precious metals.

Silver bracelet with pearl like balls

What Is Sterling Silver?

Sterling silver is popular for jewelry, tableware, and other decorative items. Unlike pure silver, which is too soft to be used for everyday items, sterling silver is an alloy that contains at least 92.5 percent silver. The remaining 7.5 percent can be made up of any combination of metals, but most sterling silver contains copper, which gives the metal strength and durability.

Sterling silver is also graded by purity, with the highest grade being “.999 fine” or “pure.” While pure sterling silver can be beautiful, it is also softer and more prone to tarnishing than lower grades. As a result, many people prefer to use sterling silver that has been plated with another metal, such as gold or platinum. This helps protect the silver from tarnishing and creates a beautiful finish that can add elegance to any piece of jewelry.

Sterling Silver vs Silver – Five Key Differences

The main differences between Sterling Silver and Silver are as follows:

  • Base metal
  • Color
  • Irritability
  • Durability
  • Weight
  1. Base metal

Sterling silver does not have a base metal, whereas silver plating does.

  1. Color

Silver plated, and sterling silver can have small color variances. Compared to sterling silver, silver frequently has a paler tone.

A woman with two silver rings on her ring fingers
  1. Irritability

For those who have allergies, the irritability of genuine silver vs. silver plating can differ significantly. The plated variant might irritate the skin more than sterling silver since it frequently contains nickel. For comfortable wear, use sterling silver that is hypoallergenic!

  1. Durability

Sterling silver outlasts silver plating in comparison to silver plating because incorrect care can cause the plating on plated silver to wear off.

  1. Weight

Silver-plated items tend to weigh more than sterling silver items because of the base metal.

Dozens of different types of silver rings

Is sterling silver better than silver?

While both sterling silver and silver are beautiful metals with a long history of use in jewelry and other decorative objects, there are some key differences between the two. Silver is a pure metal, whereas sterling silver is an alloy of silver and copper.

As a result, sterling silver is harder and more durable than silver, making it better suited for everyday wear. Sterling silver is also less expensive than silver due to the addition of copper. However, some people prefer the look of pure silver, as it has a brighter luster. In the end, whether to use silver or sterling silver depends on personal preference.

Is sterling silver considered real silver?

Sterling silver is a type of silver that contains 92.5 percent pure silver and 7.5 percent other metals, usually copper. It has a high percentage of pure silver, which makes it regarded as true silver.

Sterling silver is the most popular type of silver used in jewelry and other items because it is strong and durable and can be easily shaped into different designs. Sterling silver is a wonderful option for consumers who desire the appearance of silver without the exorbitant price tag because it is also less expensive than pure silver.


Is silver toxic?

Silver is a naturally occurring element that has been used for centuries in a variety of applications. Silver, however, has recently drawn attention due to its possible toxicity. Although silver is not considered to be a dangerous element, prolonged exposure can lead to silver poisoning. Symptoms of silver poisoning include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

In extreme cases, silver poisoning can lead to organ damage. While there is no evidence that silver is harmful to human health in small quantities, it is important to be aware of the potential risks associated with exposure. Individuals who work with silver on a regular basis should take precautions to avoid extended exposure. If you suspect you have been exposed to silver, it is important to seek medical attention immediately.

Can you wear sterling silver every day?

Sterling silver is a beautiful, durable metal that can be worn every day. It is strong enough to withstand the rigors of daily wear but soft enough to be molded into stunning jewelry designs. Sterling silver may be polished to a brilliant luster and does not tarnish or rust.


Sterling silver is the most popular type of silver used in jewelry and other items because it is strong and durable and can be easily shaped into different designs. It is a good option for folks who desire the appearance of silver without the exorbitant price tag because it is likewise less expensive than pure silver. When another metal, such as copper or brass, is coated with a thin layer of silver, this process is known as silver plating. Silver plating is often used to give cheaper metals the appearance of silver without the high price tag. However, silver plating can wear off over time and is not as durable as sterling silver.