Sterling Silver VS Silver Plated

Sterling silver means that it is 92.5% silver purity. .800 silver means that it is 80% silver purity.

Silver plated means that it has a silver coating on top of a base metal.

American Silver Identifiers:

  • Locate the ".925" or "925" stamp indicating that it is 92.5% pure.
  • Look for a pictorial stamp as these are associated with different companies. For example, a flying unicorn represents Mauser manufacturing.
  • Look for initials. These stand for the manufacturer; such as, the "AK" stamp, which stands for Ahrendt and Kautzman.

English Silver Identifiers:

  • Locate the ".925" or "925" stamp indicating that it is 92.5% pure.
  • Look for the lion stamp showing the lion's profile with it's tail upraised. This is a starndard feature of most English silver.
  • Locate the Britannia stamp which appeared between 1697 and 1720. It denotes a human figure holding a staff. This stamp indicates that it is 95.84% pure (higher than typical sterling silver).
  • Look for the city stamp which reveals the city where the silver was manufactured. For example, the city stamp for Dublin is a harp.

Some tips for determining if it's Silver Plated:

  • Look for stamps of single-digit numbers, stamps starting with the letters EP, and words; such as, "heavy plate" or "triple".
  • The two most common methods of Silver plating are Electroplating and Filling. Electroplated items will be stamped SP (silver plate), EP (electroplate) or EPS (electroplated silver).
  • Look for items designated 925 SP. Some manufactures note the purity of the silver being used for plating, in this case, 925 SP means that it is plated with sterling silver.
  • Silver filled items will be marked SF or FS for silver filled.
  • Silver filled markings may also bear a stamp indicating the thickness of the silver layer; such as, 1/20 or 1/10

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