Some call it sterling silver, others say 925 silver. The full name is 925 sterling silver. It's all the same thing. But what is it?
It's a blend of 92.5% silver and 7.5% other metals, usually copper. 925 meaning the 92.5 percentage of silver.
Inside jewelry made of 925 sterling silver you'll find one of these marks:
They all mean the same. That it's sterling silver.
The reason 925 silver was invented, and why it's blended with copper is to make it harder and more durable. 999 fine silver (99.9% pure silver) is very soft and hard to make jewelry with.
Sterling silver is a skin-friendly alloy ("a mix of metals") and does not contain any nickel, so it's wearable by pretty much everybody.
How is silver mined?
To really appreciate the beauty of silver jewelry we have to take a quick look at the extraction process. Without the guys in the ground – no silver.
The miners are usually working 200-600 meters below surface, where the temperature can get up to 40°C/104°F. After finding the silver they drill holes around the rock. The holes are then filled with explosives and the rock is shattered to pieces.
These pieces are then loaded onto a truck and driven to the surface. Here everything is crushed to a fine powder, and the silver and non-silver is separated using some very complex chemistry (I won’t get into that boring detail).
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