When you see the number “925” stamped on jewelry, that means it is 92.5% pure silver. The other 7.5% of the piece is comprised of various alloy metals, mostly copper. Therefore, 92.5% of silver, plus 7.5% of other metal alloys, equals Sterling Silver. The significance of the 925 label is to signify a genuine sterling silver piece of jewelry. When this appears on gold plated jewelry pieces, it helps to inform the buyer that there is only a thin layer of gold on the outside of the piece. You may also find the words “Sterling Silver” stamped on some pieces.
Sterling silver is the base metal for a lot of plated jewelry pieces. For instance, if you see gold jewelry with 925 stamped on it, that doesn’t mean it is 92.5% gold. It means that it is 92.5% sterling silver. This is to indicate that you have gold plating over precious silver metal.
Gold plated silver jewelry tends to be more affordable compared to solid gold jewelry. With sterling silver, you can enjoy the benefits of the gold appearance without the higher price tag of solid fine gold jewelry.
All items on Jewelry Lane are stamped with Karat identifiers. Authentic gold will always use karats to describe its level of purity (see our other blog post about karats for more). You will never see an authentic gold piece which uses the “925” stamp because the 925 always refers to the silver base. The only thing “gold” in 925 stamped jewelry is the thin outer layers of gold plating. 925 labelled jewelry should be considered silver jewelry even if it doesn’t look like silver on the outside.
Be aware of fake 925 sterling silver jewelry pieces. Unscrupulous individuals may try to sell fake sterling silver. One quick method to determine if an item is genuine sterling silver is the smell test. Authentic sterling silver does not have an odor. Fake sterling silver, on the other hand, does have an odor because it’s often comprised mostly of copper alloys. Simply put the jewelry close to your nose and take a sniff. You should be able to tell if it is real or fake. Another quick test is to use a magnet. Silver is not noticeably magnetic (unlike copper, iron, nickel, cobalt). If the sterling silver jewelry is attracted by magnets, it’s a good sign that it could be fake.