What Is 925 Silver & What Does 925 Mean On Jewelry? A Complete Guide

If you’re a fan of silver jewelry, you’ve definitely come across 925 sterling silver. Nesting amongst various types of silver – plated, fine or pure – sterling silver has been favored by the public and by jewelry experts for centuries as a high-quality, timeless and affordable alternative to gold and other precious metals.  

But what is 925 sterling silver about? And why is it so popular in the jewelry-making world? We decided to dig deep to find out the meaning behind 925 and get to the root of the infamous metal in everyone’s silver box. 

What does 925 mean in jewelry?

If you’ve always wondered what is 925 silver exactly? We have the answer for you. The 925 stamp on silver signals how pure or clean the metal is. Since pure silver is incredibly soft and fragile, jewelry producers came up with an alloy of at least 92.5% fine silver and a 7.5% mix of different metals to make the material more resistant and durable. The 925 is recognized as a ‘sterling standard,’ so anything blended in other proportions does not fall in the sterling silver category. The other metal used for 7.5% purely depends on the jewelry maker and can be composed of copper or nickel.

Are 925 silver and sterling silver the same?

They are. Ultimately, the only difference between 925 sterling silver and regular sterling silver is the name since the alloy proportion is absolutely identical.

Is 925 sterling silver real silver?

Yes, and no. A lot of people wonder, ‘is 925 sterling silver good?’ And the answer is, of course! Since it contains a high percentage of pure silver inside, it can be considered real silver, especially because fine silver is not practical for jewelry. However, despite being just as good as pure silver and made to last forever, the added alloy makes 925 sterling silver less valuable and, ultimately, cheaper to produce and buy. 

Sterling silver’s authenticity

The best way to check if the 925 sterling silver piece you’re considering is real is to take it to a professional jeweler but if you’re up for identifying if your 925 sterling is good, try the following methods:

1. Look for a stamp on the silver. Genuine 925 sterling silver will have a stamp that says "925" on it. 

2. Test the silver with a magnet. Real 925 sterling silver is not magnetic, so if the silver is attracted to a magnet, it's not real.

3. Look for signs of wear and tear. Authentic metal will show some signs of wear over time, so if the silver looks brand new, it may not be real.

4. Have it appraised by a professional. This is the best way to know since a professional will be able to tell you the value of the silver and if it's real.

An extra geeky way to test your sterling silver jewelry is to use a home acid test. There are plenty of online stores that sell testing solutions for silver. Just be careful, wear gloves and protect your eyes.

How to take care of sterling silver?

To keep your 925 sterling silver bracelets and other jewelry looking its best, take care of it properly. Here are a few tips on how to do just that:

1. Keep it clean: Sterling silver can tarnish over time. The best way to avoid it is to clean it using a gentle jewelry cleaner specifically made for silver.

2. Store it properly: When you're not wearing your sterling silver jewelry, store it in a cool, dry place. A jewelry box or pouch is ideal.

3. Avoid exposure to chemicals: Chemicals can cause 925 sterling silver to tarnish, so it's important to avoid exposure to them when possible. This includes things like household cleaners, perfumes, and lotions. 

4. Take it off before swimming: the chlorine in pools can damage sterling silver jewelry, so it's best to take it off before swimming. Permanent bracelets, like The Tag, are not meant to be taken off, so it’s a good idea to look for a non-silver band with a non-oxidizing, non-tarnishing silver clasp.