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Is 935 Sterling Silver Real Silver?
935 sterling silver is a popular alloy in jewelry making. The number 935 means that the silver is 93.5% pure, with the other 6.5% being made up of other alloys such as germanium.
What is Sterling Silver?
In the US and Britain, sterling silver has to be made up of 92.5% silver, like this Flock of Butterflies Necklace, to be considered real sterling silver and receive a hallmark, but this does vary in other countries. Therefore, 935 silver has to be purer and exceed the standard set by hallmarking for standard sterling silver.
935 sterling silver usually has an eagle stamp rather than the traditional silver hallmark so you can tell the difference. You should always look for the stamp when buying 935 silver as this will let you know that the jewelry is authentic.
Why Was 935 Sterling Silver Developed?
In the 1990s, Peter Johns, who was working at Middlesex University, wanted to research how to eliminate fire stains in sterling silver and realized that if he used more pure silver and mixed it with germanium rather than the standard copper, he could produce a product that made the silver whiter, more durable and tarnish-resistant. Johns set up the Argentium silver company, and 935 silver has been gaining in popularity ever since.
The Advantages of 935 Sterling Silver
-935 sterling silver is the whitest metal in jewelry use. This makes the jewelry stay clean and look new for longer. A flash of the whitest jewelry will look fantastic as day or evening wear. It provides a great contrast to black evening wear or cool colors, and its purity will make it look expensive.
-It is tarnish-resistant. The trouble with standard sterling silver is that is it tarnishes over time. It looks beautiful and shiny when it is brand new, but antique silver tends to become discolored. This does not happen as much with 935 silver as it is purer and tarnish-resistant. This is also helped by the fact that it uses germanium rather than copper to make up the rest of the compound.
-It is durable. It is harder than standard sterling silver, so it is less likely to scratch, dent or lose its shape. A lot of sterling silver is used to hold other gems in place, such as a ruby in a pendant necklace, for example. 935 silver will hold a stone better as it is stronger and harder and therefore less likely to break or need repaired.
-It is made using recycled silver. This makes it environmentally friendly. It uses only 5% of the energy and resources used to make new silver because it does not rely on traditional methods, such as silver mining, to make it. This makes it the choice of the future for silver, especially in the jewelry industry.
-There is no need for silver plating. Plating is a process that is used on silver to stop corrosion, improve solderability, harden, reduce friction and alter conductivity. There is no need to use this process with 935 sterling silver as it already has these qualities and therefore does not need to be improved upon. This also makes it more environmentally friendly as the plating process takes a lot of time and energy to carry out.
-It is antibacterial and hypoallergenic. Cheaper metals can cause skin irritation, especially if they are used to make earrings as the skin around your ears can be particularly sensitive. The antibacterial and hypoallergenic qualities of 935 silver make it great for jewelry-making as it can be worn without your skin reacting to it and causing a rash or blistering and bleeding.
-It has a high percentage of pure silver. This is reassuring because it offers a quality product that will never go out of style. It will be more likely to maintain its value in a volatile market because it can be melted down to produce a purer metal.
The disadvantages of 935 Sterling Silver
-It is expensive. The cost of it may be more than that of sterling silver. However, it is a purer product, so you would expect that to be reflected in the price. After all, you get what you pay for.
-It is not as widely available as sterling silver. It is rarer than sterling silver, which makes it a great present for yourself or a loved one as you know you are getting a more unique product than you would with traditional sterling silver. However, it is still possible to find unique pieces in 925 silver, such as this Dragonfly Ring.