Exploring the Depths of Fine Silver vs Sterling Silver

Exploring the Depths of Fine Silver vs Sterling Silver
Posted on March 21, 2024 by BOLD Precious Metals
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Debates over fine silver vs sterling silver have become common topics of conversation nowadays. While brands like Tiffany & Co. and James Avery are well-known for their iconic sterling silver jewelry, dealers like BOLD Precious Metals are recognized for their finest silver bullion offerings. In addition, we are now broadening our range to include fine and sterling silver jewelry!

If you are planning to purchase silver, knowing the options available to you is essential. Compare all available alternatives to make a wise and informed choice. This article compares the two major silver types you can purchase: sterling silver and fine silver.

Silver has stood the test of time and continues to be one of the most precious metals available, securing investment value and a status symbol. Before diving deeper, let us quickly understand the two variants of silver.

    What Is Fine Silver?

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Fine silver is the VIP of the silver world. It is the purest form of silver available in the market. .999 pure silver means without the presence of very minimal impurities. It has a unique look about itself, making it stand out from other silver variants. A famous example of fine silver is silver bars such as Nadir or Royal Canadian Mint silver bars.

Being extremely pure, fine silver is less likely to rust or tarnish. It gives off an impeccable luster and makes an excellent investment choice for people prioritizing high-quality silver. Any silver type cannot replicate the shine of pure silver.

Having said that, there is a flip side to buying fine silver, too. Being 99.9% pure and devoid of other metals, it is way too soft and prone to scratching. If you want to make jewelry out of silver, pure silver may not be the best option as it is more susceptible to wear and tear. So, which silver is best for jewelry making? The answer is sterling silver!

    What Is Sterling Silver?

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Sterling silver is an alloy made up of .925 silver and .75 other metals, a major chunk of which is copper. While it is not as pure as fine silver, it is a sturdier alternative. Especially while making silver articles, pure silver is alloyed with other metals to make it harder and stronger.

.925 silver is more resistant to tarnishing and wear and tear. It also reduces pure silver’s casting porosity, further improving the metal’s utility in making valuable jewelry. Apart from copper, common metals found in sterling silver include germanium, silicon, platinum, zinc, and boron

Investment-grade sterling silver bullion is not usually seen due to its low pure silver content. Yet, it is perfect for making jewelry like pendants, earrings, necklaces, and rings.

BOLD has a wide selection of high-quality silver bullion and sterling silver jewelry.

    Fine Silver Vs. Sterling Silver: A Brief Exploration

Now that we are well-versed with the two silver variants, let us dive a little deeper into fine silver vs. sterling silver using the following parameters:

1) Purity and Composition

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Millesimal fineness is a popular system used to denote an alloy’s purity by weight. It represents the parts per thousand of the concerned pure metal, denoted by its weight as whole numbers. For example, an alloy with 80% gold is represented as 800.

Fine Silver

The millesimal fineness of pure silver is .999, making it the purest form you can purchase. This is why it is also called pure silver. Fine silver has nothing but minor impurities apart from 99.9% silver. Such high grades are ideal for making bullion silver bars and coins used for personal investment and international commodities trading. Popular American Eagle and Britannia silver coins are appreciated for their purity and high quality.

Sterling Silver

Sterling silver, on the other hand, has a millesimal fineness of .925 and 7.5%, comprising other metals. In terms of purity, it does not match fine silver.

2) Manufacturing Process

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Fine Silver

Fine silver comes into existence after transforming ores like galena and argentite into processed metal. The manufacturing process giving you this refined and high-purity silver variant is long and meticulous.

Electrolysis is a common method used to achieve this transformation. Here, an electric current is passed through a container with the silver ore. It separates pure silver from the ore, later collected from the container’s bottom.

Professionals ensure that the metal’s 99.9% purity is achieved after refinement. Only a few select mints produce bars, coins, and other articles made of fine silver. They are required to meet the excellence standards set by the global authorities, giving you the most unadulterated form of silver.

Sterling Silver

It is produced when pure silver is alloyed with copper and other metals. Pure silver (with a melting point of 960.5°C) is melted and blended with melted copper (having a melting point of 1093°C).

The sterling silver you get from this combination will not react to elements like oxygen, water, and more at normal temperatures. It becomes stronger and more ductile than fine silver. This silver is then used to make jewelry and other silver articles.

    Advantages of Fine Silver

Here are some of the major benefits of fine silver:

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1. High Purity and Better Luster

There is no match to the finest silver when it comes to purity. The 99.9% or 99.99% pure silver has its own exclusive appeal. It also carries a uniquely impressive luster that stands out from the clutter.


2. Hypoallergic

Another major benefit of fine silver is that it is hypoallergic, thanks tometal allergies or sensitive skin. It is commonly used in cosmetics and skincare.


3. Tarnish Resistance

As compared to sterling silver, fine silver has more tarnish resistance. However, it is not tarnish-proof. Over time, the metal is bound to tarnish as it is exposed to air and other chemicals.


4. High Investment Value

High purity gives fine silver a better investment value than sterling silver. While it is also more expensive, pure silver will give you better returns on your investment.

    Advantages of Sterling Silver

Let us now have a look at the key benefits of sterling silver:

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1. High Durability

Adding other metals (especially copper) to the alloy makes this silver more durable. It is more resistant to wear and tear than pure silver.


2. Ideal For Jewelry

Sterling silver is the best metal variant for making jewelry. While a major chunk of the alloy is still silver, the articles made out of it are stronger and more durable than the purest form of silver.


3. Affordable Investment

As it contains other metals along with silver, .925 silver is more affordable than its purer counterpart. It allows you to own durable silver at cheaper rates.

    Fine Silver vs Sterling Silver: Which Is A Better Choice?

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If you are interested in buying bullion silver, fine and sterling silver are good investment options. The variant you choose depends on your circumstances and purpose of purchase.

If you are ready to spend more and want to purchase silver purely for investment purposes, you should go for fine silver. Its high purity will give you excellent returns, and you won’t need to worry about wear and tear as the metal will not be used extensively. This .999 or .9999 silver bullion is IRA-eligible and more liquefiable.

On the other hand, if you are looking for affordable investment options and want to purchase silver in the form of articles (such as jewelry), sterling silver is a better alternative. It provides a wider range of design options at affordable pricing.

It's your choice! Fine silver is the most prized choice if you want to invest to hedge against inflation. If you desire variety and diversity, sterling silver is an excellent alternative.

"Fine silver is the purest form; sterling silver adds resilience.

Conclusion

Whether you purchase fine or sterling silver, rest assured that you will be investing in a valuable metal. At the end of the day, it is all about your preferences and the metal’s utility. If you have made up your mind about buying some silver, do not rush the process; explore all available options before making a final decision. Check out our ‘Inevstor’s Guide’ for more details.

If you want to buy silver bullion bars, coins, or jewelry, BOLD offers an extensive range at the most affordable prices. Over the last eight years, we have provided our valued consumers with a trustworthy and seamless purchasing platform.


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