If you’re trying to buy jewelry, you’ll be met with a variety of options. Even once you narrow down whether you want gold, silver, or even rose gold, there are still more options. Making the right choice here can mean the difference between buying a high-quality piece that will last for years and one that will turn your skin green.
925 is one of the indicators that can help you make a decision here. But what does 925 mean on jewelry? Keep reading to find out what this crucial little marking can tell you.
What Does 925 Mean on Jewelry?
The 925 you see on some silver jewelry is known as a hallmark. This is an engraving that indicates the quality of the silver. You might see other hallmarks, such as STER, STG, or S.S.
When a hallmark is a number, it indicates what percentage of it is silver. So, one marked 925 is made of 92.5% silver and 7.5% another material and is known as sterling silver. Usually, the alloy is made of copper and zinc. Similarly, one marked 900 would be made with 90% silver and 10% another metal. This is similar to how 14k or 18k gold jewelry is an alloy of gold.
If 925 is engraved on a gold piece, it still indicates the same thing. In this case, you have a gold-plated sterling silver piece.
Is 925 Good Quality?
925 silver is considered superior-quality sterling silver. This means it is not pure silver but contains some additional metals alongside silver.
While this technically puts it at a lower quality level than fine silver, it also makes it more practical. Pure silver is surprisingly soft and easy to damage. Most people would not want to wear jewelry made from pure silver, as they would have to constantly be worried about damaging it.
However, 925 silver contains a mix of metals that provide strength while still containing a good amount of silver. This produces a good blend of strength and beauty that works well for everyday wear. If you care for it, sterling silver jewelry can be passed on for generations. Just know that it can tarnish easier than fine silver, so you’ll need to take care of it.
Lower numbers than 925 would be considered lower quality. For example, pieces marked with 900 and 800 would only contain 90% and 80%, respectively. This is when the percentage of silver starts to dip to a level that is no longer considered to be quality.
925 silver is also ideal because it can be relatively affordable, especially for the high quality you are getting from it. If you’re looking for a new piece of jewelry, whether for yourself or as a gift, go for silver marked with 925.
Looking for a beautiful silver necklace to accessorize your outfits? Take a look at our selection of high-quality pieces.
How to Care For Your 925 Silver Jewelry
One of the biggest things you can do to protect your silver jewelry is to avoid exposing it to things that will harm it. Household chemicals, chlorinated water, and even sweat can damage silver. Many cosmetics we wear, such as hair spray, lotions, and perfumes, can also harm it.
Luckily, you can take steps to keep your jewelry safe. We recommend using any products that could potentially harm your jewelry like you normally would. However, after you do so, let them sit for a few minutes before putting on your jewelry. This prevents them from reacting as intensely with the silver as they would otherwise.
Every so often, you should also polish your silver jewelry as a part of caring for them. Some people wait until their jewelry is noticeably tarnished before they start to polish it, as they think it doesn’t matter until then. However, damage starts to happen before it is noticeable. So, to truly care for jewelry properly, it should be polished before it starts to tarnish. This minimizes any damage and keeps the silver looking beautiful at all times.
To polish silver jewelry, use a special silver cloth or a lint-free microfiber cloth; make sure not to use paper towels or tissues. As you polish, move in a back-and-forth motion rather than a circular motion, as this will help minimize the scratches you are potentially putting into the metal. In addition, avoid going overboard with the elbow grease, as pushing too hard will be too abrasive for a delicate piece.
Another way to easily care for your jewelry on an everyday basis is to wear it. Wearing your jewelry frequently actually helps keep your silver tarnish-free as your skin’s oils help protect it. However, when you aren’t wearing it, try to store your jewelry in air-tight containers kept in a cool, dark place. Sunlight, moisture, and heat can accelerate the tarnishing process.
What Are Other Types of Silver Jewelry?
Fine silver is as close to pure silver as you can get. It contains only 0.1% impurities. This is a bright and beautiful metal that can be highly polished. However, it’s too soft to be used for daily wear. Fine silver is best reserved for ornamental pieces.
Silver-plated jewelry is also very popular. With this jewelry, you’ll have a base metal, usually copper or brass, coated with a very thin layer of silver. This layer may be sterling silver, though it's only a few microns thick.
Nickel silver is also somewhat popular. However, the name is a little misleading. This type of metal is only made of nickel and does not contain any silver. It’s only silver in color. Unfortunately, this type of metal tends to cause allergic reactions in some people.
Tibetan and tribal silver is similar. It is silver in color but does not contain any actual silver. You may also find silver from Thailand, Bali, and Mexico. While these may contain silver, they are usually of lower quality. If you don’t see the hallmark stamping, you can not guarantee its makeup. This is why it’s important to buy your jewelry from reputable retailers.
Need a new pair of earrings to pair with your other pieces? Check out our silver earrings made with tarnish-free materials.
Choose High-Quality Silver for Your Jewelry
Jewelry needs to be a blend of beauty and function. After all, it needs to stand up to daily use. Silver marked with a 925 is a blend of silver and other metals that produces a durable yet beautiful alloy. If you’re looking into silver jewelry, look for the 925 to know you’re getting the best sterling silver.Related: 5 Best Ways To Clean Jewelry: Spring Clean Your Pieces