Silver in it’s purest form is very malleable, meaning it can change form easily. Unfortunately, this doesn’t lend itself well to making things like silverware or kitchenware. So, they infused it with a more sturdy metal, copper. By mass, Sterling Silver is defined as 92.5% Silver, and 7.5% other metals, which are most frequently copper. Edward I is responsible for putting the first legal definition of Sterling Silver on the books in 1275. He decreed that 12 ounces of silver for coinage should contain 11 ounces 2¼ pennyweights of silver and 17¾ pennyweights of alloy.
If you are looking to sell your Sterling Silver, there are a couple of things you should consider.
- Make sure it says “Sterling” on it, otherwise it may just be plated with Silver, and have no “melt value”.
- Often you’ll find .925 somewhere on the piece, this is a good sign indicating the silver purity.
- Most pawn shops will gladly buy Sterling Silver, as will jewelry stores that deal with estate sales.
- Be aware that very few places will pay market value because of the work that must be done to reclaim the silver in the piece.
- eBay is a terrible place to sell your Sterling because you’ll lose a large percentage in both eBay selling fees, closing fees, and then potentially Paypal fees.
As far as investing, you should not invest in Sterling Silver if for no other reason than it frequently comes in high volume pieces. A Sterling Silver water pitcher takes up a lot more space than a tube of coins, and may actually contain less silver.