The world’s best known silver alloy: what is sterling silver made of?

Barbie from Portland asked

What is Sterling Silver made out of?

Alan, reDollar expert answered

The term “sterling silver” actually describes the oldest-known silver alloy used since the 5. century and was supposedly invented from the Anglo-Saxons. The so-called “Sterling Standard” got officially defined in the 12th century by British rulers and it was required to mint a “Lion Head Marking” as a sign of quality on all pieces produced in Great Britain.

Sterling silver is made of

  • 92.5% pure silver
  • 7.50% copper

And how much is it worth?

  • $109.57 per pennyweight
  • $70.69 per gram

Pure silver (99%) is too soft for crafting jewelry, silverware and other accessories what is the reason for adding copper what provides the work-piece the required hardness. Adding a portion 7.5% copper to pure silver makes it sterling silver and very hard and long-lasting. In the United States, almost all solid silver items are made of sterling silver except modern bullion coins which are mostly made of .999 pure silver.

More facts about sterling silver

The term sterling silver has its name from the British “Pound Sterling” because sterling silver was used to mint  silver pennies. Sterling silver melts at 1640 °F and its color is a bit more silver-grey-reddish than pure silver. It’s easy to melt and cast what makes it very popular to professional silversmiths and even to hobby-silversmiths.

Current Value of Sterling Silver

$28.50 per troy ounce

We pictured pure silver and copper to get you an idea how the sterling silver components looks like.

92.5% pure silver and 7.5% copper is named sterling silver

Other common silver alloys

  • 80.00% pure silver = .800 silver
  • 83.50% pure silver = .835 silver
  • 90.00% pure silver = .900 silver
  • 93.50% pure silver = .935 silver
  • 95.80% pure silver = .958 silver

Ask a sterling silver question

Our experts are very happy to answer all your questions about sterling silver. You could ask questions about the value in sterling silver, about the melting point, about casting or questions about its history.

    Alan, reDollar expertAlan is our expert for precious metals and of course also for silver. He helps individuals and business clients understanding how working, evaluating, and selling sterling silver works. Alan’s tremendous knowledge is also very helpful when it comes to reveal silver-counterfeits.

    Sell now Calculator Reviews