The Different Types of Silver Used in Jewelry

Silver has long been connected to jewelry and fine things.  Its been immortalized in song for example the one hit wonder Looking Glass’ song – Brandy (You’re A Fine Girl):

Brandy wears a braided chain
Made of finest silver from the north of Spain
A locket that bears the name of the man that Brandy loves

So what exactly is fine silver?  There are many types of silver jewelry available in stores. It is important to be familiar with the different types of silver that are used to make jewelry.  Silver that is used in jewelry is usually an alloy. This means that it’s mixed with another metallic element because pure silver is too soft and difficult to work with. Silver jewelry also typically has a stamp on it to identify the type and quality.

And of course the price of the silver is going to impact the cost of the jewelry.  To better understand the different options, here are the different types of silver typically used in jewelry.

Fine .999 Silver

This type of silver is the closest metal to the pure element. The .999 stamp we see on some silver jewelry indicates that it is 99.9% pure. The remaining 0.1% denotes trace elements of insignificant quantity. Fine silver appears grayer, is quite soft, and easily scratched or dented as well.

This type of silver is best used for earrings and necklaces rather than rings and bracelets, as the latter are often bumped and scratched. You can get a gorgeous pendant of this fine silver for wearing at any event.

Sterling .925 Silver

This is the most common type of silver. It is the quality standard for jewelry in the United States and other world markets. It is composed of 92.5% silver and 7.5% other metals such as copper. These other metals, which work as alloys, make the silver jewelry more durable and prevent it from tarnishing easily. Sterling silver is harder than fine silver, but it is still softer compared to other types of metal.

You’ll be easily able to find several sterling silver options online, with the AllenCOCO Round Cubic Zirconia Eternity Stackable 925 Sterling Silver Ring being a simply gorgeous choice. This ring can be used as an engagement or wedding ring, or even as a gift for any special occasion.

Argentium Silver and Non-Tarnish Alloys

This is a modern type of sterling silver alloy. While sterling silver contains 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper, Argentium silver contains 93.5% silver. In creating this type of silver, some of the copper from sterling silver is removed and metalloid germanium added. The element germanium makes the alloy harder and tarnish-resistant. This type of silver is more expensive and not readily available in markets.

If you suffer from anxiety and stress, an anti-anxiety ring with Argentium silver might be in order. This has tiny movable balls on its frame, so you can play around and focus your energies when they seem too much.

Coin Silver

The silver content of this type is 90 %, which is 2.5% less than the sterling option. The remaining 10% is made up of copper. Regardless of the name, this type of silver is not used in making coins. It was named “coin silver” because it was made from refined scrap coins. Coin silver is typically found in antiques and can occasionally be found in new items. The quality stamp of coin silver is .900.

Silver Filled

A silver filled jewelry is made up of either 5% or 10% sterling silver by weight. It is more of a layered metal than an alloy. This type is new and not yet standardized in the United States. Silver filled jewelry is not common in the market, so there is no approved quality stamp for it yet.

Silver Plated

Silver plated pieces of jewelry are more affordable and have an attractive look as well. It is made of a base metal where authentic silver is added to its surface. Silver plated jewelry is usually shiny and durable. However, its plating will eventually tarnish because of its exposure to the base metal. This type of silver jewelry does not have a quality stamp.

Nickel Silver

Nickel silver is also known as German silver. In this type, the term ‘silver’ pertains to the jewelry’s color and not to the content. It is a base metal alloy that is comprised of copper mixed with nickel or zinc. It looks like sterling silver but is inexpensive since it does not contain real silver.

Nickel silver is also used to make other products such as hair accessories and musical instruments. However, nickel silver jewelry pieces are required to be marked as a nickel alloy as some people are allergic to nickel.

Since nickel silver is a risky option and might even result in skin allergies, it might not be a good idea to wear it as jewelry. However, the look and cost of nickel silver might make it a very attractive display just for decorative purposes. There are some choice decoration pieces available for sale as wall décor.

Tibetan or Tribal Silver

Similar to nickel silver, this type does not contain any silver element. This is also made from base metal alloys that make it look like real silver jewelry. One needs to be careful in purchasing jewelry made with this type of silver, as some of them may contain dangerous metals such as lead. On the other hand, Tibetan jewelry is known for its beauty and is bought more because of its design rather than the material it’s made of.

Many people might love to have some Tibetan jewelry in their collection for a unique and striking display. You can easily fulfill this desire by ordering some gorgeous pieces online. The bracelet below is just one of many beautiful options, with a large turquoise gem embedded in the center.


If you’re on the lookout for some quality Rock n Roll Silver Jewelry, be sure to carefully check for the proper stamps on any piece you’re considering. This will ensure that you know what you’re buying.  Most importantly, find the jewelry you think is beautiful and will enjoy. While silver might be a natural material, it isn’t really too expensive for most people. This is why people usually get silver jewelry for its beauty, shine, and durability rather than as an investment.