Silver Facts - FAQs

Posted by Ann H Mar at

Shiny, irregularly shaped silver nuggets.

What is silver? 

  • Silver (Ag) is an element that sits between Copper (Cu above) and Gold (Au, below) on the periodic table. 
  • Fine silver (99.99% silver) is soft and scratches easily, making it unsuitable for jewelry or tableware. 
  • Silver is a metal that conducts electricity better than any other, so it is used in solar panels and electric vehicles.

What is Sterling Silver?

  • Sterling silver is an alloy containing 92.5 % silver and 7.5% other metal, usually copper. 
  • The addition of copper makes sterling harder, and ideal for jewelry and tableware.
  • Silver jewelry is stamped ‘.925’, or ‘Sterling’. The stamp may be tiny, but visible with a magnifying glass.


Why does silver tarnish?

  • Sulfur in the air reacts with silver causing tarnish.
  • Areas near coal plans, petroleum refineries, and automobile traffic may have more sulfur in the air, contributing to tarnish.
  • Humidity in the air makes silver tarnish more quickly, so it’s best to avoid keeping jewelry in or near moist air from the bathroom.
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