How to Buy Sterling Silver Jewelry

Silver is a metal that is shiny, highly reflective and often described as a white metal. Its pure form, called fine silver, is too soft for everyday use, so sterling silver is commonly used by jewelers. It consists of 92.5% silver and 7.5% of another metal, usually copper, which gives the sterling silver its durability. When learning how to buy sterling silver jewelry, there are certain qualities of the metal, such as luster and shine, that should be taken into consideration. Quality stamps or marks, also called hallmarks, are also usually inscribed on sterling silver jewelry and give the buyer an indication of the quality of each piece. When buyers understand what to look for in sterling silver jewelry, they will be able to find quality items that will last for years.


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    Visit the jewelry, retail or antique shop where you plan to purchase sterling silver jewelry.
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    Select pieces of jewelry that you would like to learn more about. Keep your personal style in mind when making your selections.
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    Ask the jeweler or salesperson if he or she has specific information about the sterling silver jewelry you are interested in buying.
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    Examine the jewelry items that you are interested in purchasing carefully.
    • Take into consideration the details of the overall craftsmanship, the intricacy of designs, the weight of the items and any marks, flaws or areas of tarnish.
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    Look for the hallmark .925, which indicates that the metal is genuine sterling silver. Ask the salesperson to verify that the pieces are sterling silver if you are not able to locate this hallmark.
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    Check to see if there are any designers' marks on the jewelry or ask the salesperson if the pieces were crafted by a specific designer.
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    Make your purchase of sterling silver jewelry once you have determined that it is a good buy.


  • The value of sterling silver jewelry depends on the details and design of the item. Heavy pieces with intricate etchings, cuts and shapes are almost always high-quality items.
  • When learning how to buy sterling silver jewelry, you might want to purchase a jeweler's loop. This instrument allows you to examine jewelry closely, and magnifies flaws.
  • Though .925 is the most common hallmark for sterling silver jewelry, some others that you might encounter are sterling, sterling silver, sil and ster. These hallmarks may or may not be in capital letters.
  • Look for a designer's name when shopping for sterling silver jewelry. There are many designers that make high-quality, artistic pieces. You can also check sterling silver jewelry for a designer's name etched on the pieces.


  • When buying sterling silver jewelry, keep in mind that cheap pieces might not be the best quality. The price of silver is up in the market, so the price of jewelry made of sterling silver is higher than it use to be. Less expensive pieces might be poorly crafted or made with less silver content.
  • Do not buy sterling silver jewelry that has a tarnished appearance. This could mean that the piece is of poor quality.
  • Do not be afraid to purchase used sterling silver jewelry. With cleaning and polishing, used pieces will return to their original luster. Some places that you might find quality used sterling silver jewelry include antique shops, auctions and online stores.

Things You'll Need

  • Jewelry or retail shops
  • Jeweler's loop

Article Info

Categories: Jewelry and Watches