Silver plated, what is it exactly? Always wondered what silver plated means?. Or you have a question like what is sterling silver.
We will have a small explanation of what it is and, of course, a bit of historical background.
Where silver plating started
We are not going to have a complete history lesson here. But I think it is always valuable to know a bit of background of a subject.
Silver plating was invented in the U.K. around 1740 in a place called Sheffield. This explains the name, which is Sheffield Plate. Another name for this process is Fusion plate. This process remained quite simple compared to the newer constructed silver plated items. It consists basically out of one side a thin layer of silver plate and one side the base metal of copper.
Silver Plating the process
The evolution started when the industrial revolution made electricity possible. As a result, a new process was born called electroplating.
Electroplating is the following process: For instance, a bracelet and a silver bar are covered in a liquid containing the metal ions. Then you apply an electric current to the bracelet. The (+) current goes to the metal, and the (-) goes to the bracelet. This process will result in a thin layer of silver.
In the beginning, one used only copper. Now the base material can be a whole variety of metals.
Gold plating follows, basically the same procedure.
Difference between Silver Plated and Sterling Silver
The main difference is that sterling silver is 92.5% silver. Therefore sometimes the name 925 silver. The other 7.5% are other metals like copper. Consequently, it will tarnish over time, getting this well known dark look.
Pure or fine 99.9% silver jewellery is difficult to accomplish. It sounds funny, but the metal is too soft to use for jewellery when used in its purest form. The same goes for
Besides the well known .925 sterling silver, there is also .850 silver and .625 silver. However, they never carry sterling.
Do Silver plated jewellery tarnish? Does Gold Plated Jewellery tarnish?
How long the plating will last depends on a few factors. The most determining factor is the quality of the plating. And yes, you do have different quality levels of plating. At Yazzy’s we can ensure you that our silver-plated jewellery will last for a very long time. The same is valid for gold plated jewellery.
The carat of the plating also influences how long the plating will last. You might know that the higher the carat, the softer the gold. In the case of silver, the higher the content of silver, the softer it becomes.
Therefore the higher the carat of gold plating, the faster it will peel off or fade. So 24-carat gold plating will fade relatively quickly. Therefore it is not wise to choose gold plated jewellery with this kind of plating.
Most importantly, you have to take care of your jewellery and accessories. This means not taking a shower wearing them or swim with your jewellery.
Silver Plated Hallmarks
A short explanation of hallmarks. Hallmark are those small letters and numbers you can sometimes see in the metal. Like on this image below
We can be very short about this. It doesn’t exist anymore. Remember we were talking about the Sheffield plating? In those days, they did have something which resembles the hallmarks which you see in 925 silver. However, now you do not have anything remotely similar. So if you see these hallmarks, you can be sure it is not legitimate, or you have something quite old in your possession. However, it could also be that you have genuine sterling silver in your hand.
Where to get high-quality silver plated and gold plated jewellery
That is always difficult. However, we will give you an insider tip. You can get high-quality silver plated, and gold plated jewellery like earrings and rings at Yazzy’s. The same goes for children’s jewellery.