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Topics: Sterling Silver Versus Silver-Plated

Q.
What's the difference between, sterling silver and silver-plated?
- Patricia
A.
Please refer to the definitions below for information on these metals.

Sterling Silver - These items are made of 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% copper or other alloy, proportions fixed by law. Sterling Silver will "patina" in time; that is, its color will take on an "antique" look.

Silver-Plated - A fine silver film deposited on a base metal by electrolysis, in the same kind of electrically charged bath used to make gold electroplate. The film can be as thin as seven millionths of an inch. A silver plate item cannot be called sterling or bear a marking of "silver."

Silver-Colored - This item is washed in a silver color and is much thinner than silver plating.

Materials

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