What Does 925 Mean on Jewelry? (Interesting Answer…)

Last Updated on October 18, 2023 by Juli "Jewels" Church

Wondering what 925 silver is?

Perfect, you're in the right place!

In this Learningjewelry.com guide you'll learn:

  • What is 925 silver?
  • Is 925 valuable?
  • What's the difference between 925 silver and white gold?
  • And much more!
what does 925 mean jewelry silver sterling

Let's get into it!

In the jewelry world, you may come across pieces of jewelry with different stamps and numbers on the metal.

Some of the stamps you may see are 14K, 316L, PT 950 or 999, and 925. 

Knowing what the stamp means on a piece of jewelry will quickly let you know what the metal is composed of.

If it doesn't have any kind of stamp, the metal is probably not genuine. 

925 and 999 stamps on jewelry indicate the piece is solid sterling silver. But what exactly is sterling silver? Is it good quality? Is it better than white gold? This and so many more answers to your  silver questions lie ahead. 

What is 925 Silver?

If you have a ring that has 925 stamped on the inside of the shank, it is the mark of sterling silver jewelry. Specifically,  a 925 stamp means that 92.5% of the metal in that ring is sterling silver.

The remaining 7.5 percent is composed of metal alloys, which is a mixture of other metals called silver alloy(like copper).  The silver alloys are fused with silver to create jewelry quality durability. Fine silver jewelry is pure silver, or stamped 999. 

If a jewelry piece has sterling silver plating on it, it won't be stamped 925. All solid silver is stamped. If you don't see 925, don't trust that it's real sterling silver. If there is 14 karat yellow gold plating over a sterling silver ring, the ring will still be stamped 925 because of the base metal.  So, it's possible to see a yellow gold looking ring stamped 925. 

For sake of future confusion, sterling silver and 925 silver are the same. Pure silver is referred to as silver or 999 silver. In the jewelry world, the words "sterling silver" and "silver"are interchangeable terms for sterling silver jewelry.

What's the Difference Between 925 Silver and White Gold?

While 925 silver and white gold may appear similar to your eyes, there are some key differences. Neither of these metals are pure and they are both mixed with metal alloy. Like silver, the gold purity depends on how durable the gold really is. 

White gold jewelry will either be stamped 10K, 14K, 18K, or 24K (pure gold). White gold is coated in rhodium, which is how it receives that silvery appearance.

Rose gold and yellow gold don't need rhodium plating. Due to oils in the skin and wear, that rhodium plating starts to fade, leaving a white gold piece of jewelry looking a little yellowish. 

Read Also: What is rhodium plated jewelry?

Overall, white gold is going to be more expensive than sterling silver, as well as more durable. But sterling silver maintains its silver color, and white gold doesn't. 

Is 925 Silver Good Quality?

Aside from platinum and gold, sterling silver is the best quality of precious metals money can buy. Fine jewelry stores don't tend to keep their engagement rings in sterling silver, but have many gemstone jewelry set in sterling silver. You can also find two tone gold and sterling silver pieces in stores as well. 

Sterling silver is the best quality of silver there is on the market, so make sure it's genuine sterling silver with the 925 stamp. When cared for properly, sterling silver is long-lasting. 

Some people think that pure silver is better quality than sterling silver because it is pure. It may be worth more as a precious metal, but as jewelry, the quality is bad because of how soft the metal is. This is also why 24 karat solid gold jewelry is not found often in the US as well. 

Is 925 Silver Jewelry Cheap or Expensive?

Sterling silver jewelry itself is generally affordable. Amazon has many cheap 925 silver pieces. But a fine jewelry store like Jared may carry a sterling silver necklace with a ruby set in it for a couple hundred. 

The price of sterling silver jewelry depends on if it is just plain sterling silver. If it's two-tone with gold, it will undoubtedly cost more due to the gold content. This will be the same with any lab-created gemstones or natural gemstones, as well as lab-created diamonds or natural diamonds. 

You might find 925 on a piece of gold jewelry. The numbers 925 on a gold jewelry means it has gold plating. Gold plated jewelry with a sterling silver base is called gold vermeil or vermeil jewelry. Solid gold shouldn't be stamped with 925, only gold plated jewelry. 

Gold plated sterling silver is fairly inexpensive, no matter which gold purity is used. The layers in gold plated silver are so thin, it doesn't rack up a high price. It's still solid gold, but only gold plated. Even 24 karat pure gold plated jewelry doesn't come at a high price. 

I'd avoid gold plated jewelry in general because it eventually wears off. It can be hard to find someone to replate a gold plated piece of jewelry. Plus, gold plated jewelry is used more in costume jewelry and fashion jewelry than a fine jewelry collection. 

Sterling silver may cost more if it's part of name brand collection, like Sophia Vergara jewelry, which is incredibly overpriced for sterling silver, so I don't recommend buying sterling silver from a high end brand.

What is 925 Silver Worth?

The exact price of silver depends on the amount of silver content. 925 silver jewelry is close to 10% less than fine silver. Also, the value of silver changes daily. The average amount can be roughly guesstimated at $17 an ounce. So overall, sterling silver jewelry is not worth much at all.


Is 925 Silver Waterproof?

Technically, you can wear your 925 sterling silver jewelry in water. It doesn't damage the metal itself. But in prolonged exposure, it will oxidize or tarnish faster than it might over time.

So, if you don't want to keep up with maintenance, it's not recommended to wear sterling silver in any water, other than briefly washing hands. Wearing sterling silver in the pool can actually damage the metal itself because of the harsh chemicals. 

Does 925 Silver Tarnish?

Yes, sterling silver will always tarnish. Water is the ultimate enemy to sterling silver regarding tarnishing or oxidizing.

Tarnish causes your 925 piece to darken with black marks all over the surface. It looks dull and greasy. Thankfully, there are ways to both slow tarnish and manage it if it's already happened. 

Read Also: What are our favorite ultrasonic jewelry cleaners?

Tarnish is going to happen, there is no way to stop it. But you can slow it down greatly by managing it. If you regularly clean your sterling jewelry, you're cleaning off the oils from your fingers off of the metal. You can clean with water and a soft white cloth, but make sure to dry it as moisture will tarnish more. 

If your silver piece is already tarnished, don't worry because it can be easily restored. A silver polishing cloth will buff that tarnish right off, leaving it shiny new. 

Note: They do have professional silver cleaner, but it is very potent that it can strip off polish, antiquing, or colored rhodium. You will NEED a silver polishing cloth to bring back the polish, but the antiquing or rhodium will have to be redone. 

Are There Diamonds in 925 Silver Jewelry?

Diamonds are set in sterling silver, but you're more likely to find more diamonds set in small carat weights under a 1/2 rather than larger carats. Cubic zirconia, gemstones, and diamond chips are seen set in sterling silver frequently. 

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