Three things to know about selling sterling silver

Sterling silver is a popular material because it is the brightest fine metal but also one of the least expensive. Its low cost means that styles change more quickly, and sterling silver pieces might be replaced more often than gold or platinum pieces. If you have sterling silver you no longer want, make sure you know the three basics about selling your silver:

John Hardy Sterling Silver Bracelet
John Hardy sterling silver woven bracelet.

What is sterling silver?

For a piece to be considered sterling silver, it must be composed of 92.5 percent pure silver. The remaining 7.5 percent can be any metal alloy, but copper is the most common.

Silver is a very malleable metal. While it might seem that a higher silver content would be more desirable, any composition of more than 92.5 percent silver is so soft that it is nearly useless. The presence of the other metal makes sterling silver strong enough to be used without tarnishing or breaking.

There are other types of silver. Fine silver is made of 99.9 percent silver and, since it is too soft to be used for jewelry or tableware, is used to make bullion bars.

Fine silver bullion bars.
Fine silver bullion bars.

Not all sterling silver is created equal

A common misconception in valuing jewelry is the difference between sterling silver and silver plate. When a piece is designated “sterling silver,” it means it is made of 92.5 percent silver mixed with another metal. Silver plate is the process of bonding silver to the surface of another metal, like nickel or copper, to create the appearance of silver.

Sterling silver and silver plate pieces have a difference in quality as well as value. Sterling pieces usually have better workmanship and are built to last longer than silver-plated items. Silver plate will eventually wear off and expose the base metal.

Any sterling silver created within the last 400 years will be stamped with a mark that says “sterling” or “925.” If your piece isn’t stamped, it’s probably silver plate. Silver plate pieces have a much lower resale value because the actual silver content is very low and difficult to remove from the base metal.

sterling silver flatware set
Sterling silver flatware set.

Diamond Banc accepts more than just sterling silver jewelry

Diamond Banc will purchase and provide loans on sterling silver pieces that are not jewelry, such as flatware, serving-ware, decor and coins. These pieces are evaluated based on the mill value of the silver, without consideration for the design.

Are you curious to find out what we would offer you for your piece? To get an estimate on your sterling silver, fill out our simple Sell Your Jewelry Form to receive a quote in 24 hours or less. Not ready to part with your sterling silver, but need money now? Fill out our no-obligations Collateral Loan on Jewelry Form to start the loan process today.

To get the best price for your designer sterling silver jewelry, visit our website or bring it into one of our Diamond Banc locations today.

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