Sunday, January 18, 2015

Fine Silver ... Sterling Silver ... What's the Difference?

Hi, this is Jean from SilverSmack and I'm going to talk a bit about the difference between fine silver and Sterling silver.

About Fine Silver


Fine silver (.999) is higher in purity than Sterling Silver.  It's 99.9% pure silver. 


This makes it more tarnish resistant, more malleable, and much whiter and brighter than Sterling silver.  It also has a higher melting point. Many jewelry makers prefer to fuse rather than solder fine silver. Fine silver can be soldered with a bit of scrap sterling.


Norah from Your Daily Jewels made the fine silver Modern Tribal Silver Sapphire Gemstone Necklace shown in the photo above. You can find it in her shop on this page.



Phylly from Sending Love Gallery used fine silver to create the beautiful textured drops in the amazing Ruby and Gemstone Earrings you'll see just above this sentence!

Bob of Art Jeweler NYC made the antique Egyptian look Fine Silver Ring shown above.

About Sterling Silver


Sterling silver (.925) is 92.5% pure silver with the other 7.5% alloy. The alloy is usually copper.  This makes it harder and stronger, but also makes it tarnish more easily, which for jewelry makers means it's easier to give that lovely antiqued patina.  It can also be soldered. Silver solder has more copper in it than sterling silver so it melts at a lower temperature.


Crystal Hartman made the intricate bracelet above from recycled sterling silver.


SilverSmack loves to add an antique patina and texture to many of her creations.



Brooke has soldered circles in her sterling necklace.

Both fine silver and sterling silver have their merits. Each is a beautiful metal with unique qualities. Each artist should consider these qualities before choosing which metal to use so they can be fully satisfied at the completion of their project.

12 comments :

Jean Sandell said...

Thanks for posting my article, Bob!!!

Michele said...

Interesting post, it's always good to learn something new!! Thanks for sharing all the lovely jewelry also!!

Gloria Flynn - EarthEnergyGemstones said...

Nice article with some great examples!

Erika Price said...

Fascinating post, thanks for sharing!

Gemstones on My Mind said...

Fantastic info for buyers and artists. Also, the gorgeous silver pieces you posted in the article are wonderful examples. Thanks for your enlightening article, Jean.

Beadsme said...

Great post and what wonderful examples.

TheSilverBear said...

Thumbs up!

Rough Magic Mollie said...

Great information and lovely jewelry!

LoveStoneArts said...

So informative! I'm going to do some more research on the melting temperatures- trying to minimize those oopsies. Know what I mean?

MadeByTammy said...

Very informative article with amazing jewelry!

SendingLoveGallery said...

great article! and thank you for including my fine silver & ruby earrings - much appreciated!

Judith Lott said...

Very informative.