Silver 101: How to tell Between Pure, Sterling, and Plated Silver

Jan 23 , 2024

Martin Dautzenberg

Silver 101: How to tell Between Pure, Sterling, and Plated Silver

When choosing silver jewelry, discerning customers must know the difference between pure silver, sterling silver, and plated silver to make the right choice.

Pure Silver and Its Properties

Pure silver, also known as fine silver, has a silver content of 99.9%. It's known for its malleability, making it easy to shape into intricate designs. However, this softness also means it's prone to scratches and dents. It has a beautiful, natural shine that’s highly prized in jewelry and decorative items. Additionally, since it’s the purest form of silver, it's hypoallergenic and ideal for sensitive skin.

Plated Silver and Its Properties

Plated silver is comprised of a thin layer of silver coating over a base metal. It provides the appearance of silver at a lower cost. However, it lacks the durability and longevity of sterling silver. While initially, plated silver can look similar to sterling or pure silver, a common question that customers often ask is, "Does silver-plated jewelry tarnish?" Unfortunately, it does, as the silver-plated layer can wear off over time or react to the skin, exposing the less durable base metal. This is a crucial point to note when considering the longevity and appearance of your jewelry.

Sterling Silver and Its Properties

Sterling silver, an alloy containing 92.5% silver and 7.5% other metals, usually copper, offers durability and strength. It’s more versatile, making it ideal for a wider range of designs, from delicate to more robust jewelry pieces. How to tell sterling silver vs. plated silver? While it retains the beautiful luster of pure silver, the alloy is more resistant to tarnishing. The natural luster and warmth of sterling silver are unmatched. It also ages gracefully, developing a unique patina that many find appealing.

The difference between sterling silver and pure silver lies in this durability, making sterling silver ideal for jewelry that endures everyday wear. This is one of the reasons sterling silver maintains its value over time, unlike plated silver, which can deteriorate.

Though not as pure as fine silver, sterling silver is still a good choice for those with metal sensitivities. For those with sensitive skin, sterling silver is often a better choice as it's less likely to cause allergic reactions than nickel- or brass-plated items.

Sterling Silver Bracelet

Rhodium Plated Vs. Sterling Silver

Rhodium plating is a process where a piece of jewelry is coated with a layer of rhodium, a precious metal known for its reflective properties and resistance to tarnishing. If you’re deciding between rhodium plated and sterling silver for your jewelry, it’s crucial to consider that while rhodium plating can enhance the durability and luster of silver jewelry, it doesn't change the inherent qualities of the base metal beneath.

How to Tell Between Sterling Silver Vs. Plated Silver

Identifying sterling silver vs. plated silver can be tricky, but we at Dautzen make it easy for you. Our bracelets with two tones, black oxidized and white silver, are not rhodium plated. Meanwhile, our silver-colored bracelets are rhodium plated to keep them from tarnishing, making it easier to maintain their modern appearance.

Benefits of Silver Sterling Jewelry

Sterling silver is known for its strength and longevity. Dautzen bracelets, in particular, are designed to last. Our elegant designs have been handcrafted by Thai artisans renowned for their meticulous craftsmanship. Our bracelets in sterling silver showcase intricate designs that reflect both intricate artistry and contemporary aesthetics.

Culturally, silver possesses a lot of symbolic value. Silver is often associated with clarity, purity, and emotional connections. It’s easy to style your outfits with silver accessories. Its versatile color complements any look, making it a practical gift that can be cherished and worn on any occasion.

The Beauty of Dautzen Silver Sterling Bracelets

Dautzen’s handmade sterling silver jewelry stands out vs. plated silver pieces for several reasons. Our bracelets have an innovative, no-lock, expandable design with internal springs and mechanical elements, making these pieces practical and user-friendly.

Our 4 primary bracelet collection showcases the versatility and beauty of sterling silver:

Natural Elements draws inspiration from the strength and simplicity of nature. Its intricate, meticulously crafted Earth, Fire, Water, and Air designs reflect the durability and elegance inherent in sterling silver and Mother Nature.
Elements of Life designs are inspired by cherished symbols and patterns found in various cultures around the world. Each piece embodies the practicality and versatility of sterling silver and the enduring meaning of its symbolic designs in our contemporary life.

Catena Series draws its name from the Latin word for “chain”, symbolizing connections and continuity. This series celebrates the interconnectedness of life, represented in the unbroken and resilient nature of sterling silver chains.
Capsule Series is about capturing moments and memories with the lasting quality of sterling silver. The customizable bracelets enable the wearer to add a unique meaning and value to each piece.

Bracelet made from sterling silver


Lasting Quality, Timeless Design

Made with high-quality, sterling silver, Dautzen jewelry is beautifully crafted and durable, as proven by rigorous certification processes. Our bracelets are available in customizable sizes, from small to medium, large, and extra-large, and come with the option to add sapphire embellishments in 9 different colors. We also take pride in our sustainability practices, including using eco-friendly materials in our packaging.

Dautzen’s sterling silver jewelry balances aesthetics and durability. Our commitment to quality and the environment makes our collections all the more appealing for those looking to invest in sustainable luxury.

After finding out the differences between them, the choice between pure silver, sterling silver, and plated silver depends on your individual needs and preferences. For those seeking a perfect blend of durability, beauty, and value, sterling silver is an ideal choice. With its superior craftsmanship, innovative designs, and commitment to sustainability, Dautzen’s sterling silver collection offers timeless design and long-lasting quality.


Martin Dautzenberg - Author Avatar

Martin Dautzenberg

Martin Dautzenberg, founded Dautzen, an innovative jewelry brand that merges Eastern and Western design philosophies. He possesses over 30 years of expertise in fine jewelry, having evolved from a goldsmith to a renowned artisan in Thailand and globally.