Whether you’re browsing for your next go-to piece or on the hunt for a special, sparkly treat, one of the first things to consider on any jewelry hunt is, of course, metal. If you find yourself dazzled by the shine of sterling silver, you may be wondering how this classic metal stacks up in the glittery world of jewelry. What are sterling silver pros and cons?
Essentially, sterling silver is a beautiful, affordable jewelry option. However, without proper maintenance, it can tarnish over time and may be more susceptible to damage if you’re not careful.
Learning more about the pros and cons of sterling silver can help you make the perfect choice, whatever your style.
What is Sterling Silver?
Fun fact: almost all silver jewelry isn’t 100% silver. That’s because pure silver is so soft and pliable, it damages more easily and doesn’t hold a shape very well. (Think of it as the metallic equivalent of Play-Doh).
In order for jewelers to transform pure silver into captivating rings, earrings, necklaces, and everything else fit to grace your jewelry box, they must strengthen it. That means mixing silver with other metals to harden it. The different amounts of non-silver metals determine the kind of silver in the piece, from pure silver to silver plated and sterling silver.
So how does sterling silver fit into the silver hierarchy?
- Pure or “fine” silver is 99.9% silver.
- Silver alloy is any kind of silver that contains less than 99% silver content.
- Sterling silver, a kind of silver alloy, contains 92.5% of silver and 7.5% of other metals (typically copper).
- Silver-filled jewelry are pieces made entirely of another metal (like brass) but coated with silver. It usually only contains 5-10% silver.
Sterling silver jewelry is the gold (so-to-speak) standard for jewelers across the world.
Sterling Silver Jewelry Pro’s
As one of the most popular metal choices, you can find sterling silver earrings, rings, necklaces, and all kinds of sterling jewelry just about anywhere. Whenever you make a jewelry purchase, you want to find a high quality piece that will last and make you feel and look amazing. Sterling silver might just be that perfect choice.
Here are a few of the upsides of sterling silver that may make your next jewelry decision a little bit easier:
- Inexpensive – Sterling silver is one of the more affordable precious metals, especially when you compare it to purchasing pure silver or pure gold.
- Quality with quantity – Unlike silver-filled jewelry, sterling silver predominantly comprises real silver.
- The look – Perhaps the most important component when it comes to jewelry is beauty and silver is timeless. It can be dressed up or down and look beautiful with a variety of styles.
Sterling Silver Jewelry Con’s
Though there’s always a silver lining to every cloud, it can always help to consider the not-so-sunny elements—especially when choosing jewelry. Whether you’re looking to purchase a sterling silver engagement ring for the forever moment or an everyday pair of earrings, looking at both sides of it is important.
A few potential drawbacks of deciding on a sterling silver piece include:
- Without proper care, sterling silver is susceptible to tarnish – Tarnish is a bluey-green tint caused by chemical reactions between silver and natural elements in the air. But there’s a pro in this con: you can easily clean off tarnish from silver jewelry. You can use silver polish or even household products such as baby shampoo, baking soda, lemon juice and an old toothbrush. Cleaning sterling silver regularly will keep it gleaming for years to come.
- Softness – Though more resilient than pure silver, sterling silver still contains a high amount of silver. That means it can still bend, scratch and chip more easily than harder metals like gold.
Essentially, sterling silver may not be the best for everyday wear because of its signature softness. However, if you’ve taken a shine to sterling silver, all of these cons are easy to address with a few tips:
- Consider purchasing multiple sterling silver pieces – Because sterling silver is a more affordable option than other metals, you can invest in a few favorite pieces that you can rotate throughout your week.
- Keep your jewelry in a clean, dry place – Tarnish occurs when silver is exposed to moisture and air for too long without cleaning. Keeping your beloved silver pieces in a jewelry box can help keep the tarnish at bay.
- Make jewelry cleaning a part of your spring-cleaning routine – To keep your sterling silver collection shining, experts recommend cleaning silver jewelry at least once a year. This can help keep your pieces lustrous for years to come.
With all of the pros and cons of sterling silver, here’s the biggest takeaway—you can continue being your smart and financially savvy self while still rocking jaw-dropping and awe-inspiring jewelry.
Is Sterling Silver Good Quality?
The short answer is yes, sterling silver is of good quality. It’s a favorite for jewelers due to the signature color and strength of sterling silver vs silver. But as with any other type of jewelry, precious metal or not, it’s important to know the sterling silver pros and cons to help you decide if it’s the right choice for you. Once you’ve made your choice, all you need to do is learn how to clean sterling silver jewelry to keep it sparkling for years to come.
Find Your Next Sterling Silver Favorite with Diamond Nexus™
If you’re looking for a high-quality piece of jewelry at an affordable price, sterling silver could be the perfect choice. But before you make that first step towards your next sterling silver bracelet or necklace, you’ll need to find a trustworthy source of all that glitters.
Hello, we’re Diamond Nexus, and we want to help you sparkle.
Our team is committed to crafting stunning pieces that will radiate style and quality for generations. Every piece is hand-inspected and comes with a Lifetime Stone guarantee and a one-year “Everything’s Covered” plan that includes cleaning, repairs and more. Enjoy peace of mind every time you slip on one of our gorgeous items and let the world see you shine.
Find the latest addition to your jewelry box from the perfect sterling silver ring to the dazzling pendant at Diamond Nexus.
News9. The Different Types of Silver. https://www.news9.com/story/5e8cf9d4fa8ed3749a62c865/the-different-types-of-silver-to-know-about-before-buying-jewelry
Better Homes and Gardens. How to Clean Silver Jewelry in a Matter of Minutes. https://www.bhg.com/homekeeping/house-cleaning/tips/how-to-clean-silver-jewelry/
Grove. How to Clean Silver. https://www.grove.co/blog/how-to-clean-silver