20+ Difference between Silver Plated and Sterling Silver

There are benefits and drawbacks to both sterling silver and silver plating. Ultimately, your decision should be based on your needs and budget.

Sterling silver is more expensive than silver plating for the same item. Sterling silver is more costly since it contains 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% other metals.

Silver plating, on the other hand, only consists of a thin coating of silver applied over base metals to make them seem glossy.

Both increase or decrease in cost and value depending on the amount of silver utilized.

Comparison Between Silver Plated And Sterling Silver

ParameterSilver PlatedSterling Silver
ColorThe item has been plated with silver, giving it the deceptive impression that it is silver; nevertheless, when viewed in natural light, the object appears to be white rather than silver. This is because the thing has been given the false appearance that it is silver.The degree of reflectivity of metals that have been formed with sterling silver is much lower when contrasted with the reflectivity of metals that have been plated with silver.
WeightDuring the manufacturing process of products that will later have silver plating applied to them, it is common practice to exchange less costly metals for more expensive ones. This is done so that the final product may be sold at a higher price. Because of this, huge cost reductions are possible.The term “sterling” denotes that the item’s silver content comprises at least 99.9% pure silver; this percentage serves as the standard for the sector.
HallmarkSome silver-plated goods, or the whole series, will be stamped with a square punch with an engraved number that corresponds to the cost per ounce of silver used to plate the item.Various quality levels of sterling silver are indicated by distinct hallmarks. You can identify genuine sterling silver by the 925 stamps. This water pitcher, made by the renowned silversmith Alfredo Ortega in Mexico, has the prestigious label 925, indicating that it is made of sterling silver.
What it meansThe term “silver plating” refers to the practice of coating one or more base metals with a thin layer of silver. Although it seems to be a straightforward procedure, care must be taken to coat the base metal uniformly with silver in order to get that sought-after matte finish.By definition, sterling silver is an alloy of silver and copper, with a typical weight distribution of 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper. The minimum milligram fineness for sterling silver is 925.

Major Difference Between Silver Plated And Sterling Silver

What exactly is Silver Plated?

Silver-plated jewelry is made by plating a cheaper metal, such as copper or brass, with a very thin coating of sterling silver.

Thicknesses of 1 micron to 10 microns are possible for the coating. This base metal is often less expensive than sterling or pure silver, which may make silver jewelry more accessible to those on a tight budget.

Gold plated and gold vermeil is two further examples of this practice, in which a costly metal is coated onto a base material.

Key Difference: Silver Plated

  • A layer of silver that has a more sparkling surface. It is somewhat affordable compared to the British pound.
  • Stronger metals are employed underneath the silver plate to produce engravings that are more resistant to wear and tear. This is done in order to make the engravings.
  • There is a possibility that the tarnish may be lessened in severity. However, it’s probable that the silver coating won’t last forever and will eventually fade off.
  • It has the potential to trigger allergic responses when the body consumes it. Interactions that may take place with water under certain conditions
  • It has a low resale value.
  • It is essential to re-plate anything that has to be fixed at this point.

What exactly is Sterling Silver?

In spite of its low initial cost, this metal has an extremely high cost of maintenance during its long lifespan.

Sterling silver jewelry is a great investment if you wish to leave something to future generations. Polishing and proper storage are the only maintenance needs for sterling silver.

Sterling silver is mostly made up of silver and some other metal or alloy. Authentic silver makes up 92.5% of the coin, with the remaining 7.5% made up of alloys like nickel and copper (two or more other metals).

Key Difference: Sterling Silver

  • It was powerful enough to be utilized consistently as it was designed to be used. Can resist being submerged in water without being damaged.
  • The hypothetical component most closely resembles pure silver compared to other possible candidates.
  • In most circumstances, those who suffer from allergies need not be concerned about their safety. It is a precious metal.
  • The item may be resold with no effort at all. It shouldn’t take too much work to get rid of the tarnish.
  • Simple to fix or reassemble after being broken.
  • The rate of oxidation that occurs in the silver plate is far slower than that which occurs in sterling silver.

Contrast Between Silver Plated And Sterling Silver


  • Silver Plated- Objects that have been silver plated have first been covered with a layer of another metal, and then a very thin layer of silver has been plated on top of that layer. Electroplating is the name for this method.

    This process is often referred to as electroplating. The term “plating” describes the method being discussed here. This technique is called plating, which is also the procedure’s name.
  • Sterling Silver- 7.5% of the total weight of sterling silver comprises trace amounts of other metals like copper, nickel, and others. These other metals make up the rest of the weight. These many additional metals can be found in very trace amounts.

    These supplementary metals account for the remaining portion of the total weight. The remainder of the weight is composed of a large array of various types of metals in varying proportions.


  • Silver Plated- The silver plating that has been applied to the metal will, in due order and over time, wear away, exposing the metal behind the coating.

    In the next steps, this low-grade metal will oxidize, which will tarnish the metal. On the other hand, because it is made of base metal, it is more durable than sterling silver. This is because sterling silver is a precious metal.
  • Sterling Silver- Sterling silver, on the other hand, does not tarnish or oxidize nearly as quickly as silver plating does because of the way it is constructed.

    This is because sterling silver is more malleable than other types of silver. As a direct consequence of this, it is pliable to the point that it may be readily molded and sculpted into a wide range of distinct forms.


  • Silver Plated- Products made entirely of silver are available for purchase at substantially higher prices than similar products with only silver plating.

    When you consider everything that has been said in this article, you will be able to assess whether or not the offer being presented to you is unrealistically excellent.
  • Sterling Silver- If you come across a deal for sterling silver that seems to be too good to be true, you can be certain that it is a scam.

    The fact that this item has a high silver content of 92.5 percent leads to it having a premium price, yet, it has the potential to be resold for far more money than what the price tag now implies it is worth.


  • Silver Plated- Tarnish may be caused by a wide variety of chemicals, such as the chlorine found in water and hairspray, which makes it difficult to maintain your silver-plated object regularly. When cleaning a surface with a very thin silver coating, you need to use more care.
  • Sterling Silver- To begin, I went out and purchased a necklace that was made of sterling silver. A rude awakening came in the form of the realization that if I did not keep it up, people would find it dull and uninspiring.

    Maintaining sterling silver in order to get a brilliant sheen is an integral component of the process. When it’s not being worn, you should store it in a container that prevents air from getting in.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. Exactly when does silver plating cease being attractive?

Silver plating has an average lifetime of 20 years with adequate care. Stainless steel’s low price is only one of many advantages.

It may be used without worrying about corrosion and is much cheaper than silver. This means that jewelry made from stainless steel may be worn often without succumbing to wear and tear.

Q2. Does silver plating eventually get tarnished?

Yes, the silver plate can lose its luster due to regular use, which results in the accumulation of dirt and tarnish.

Tarnish forms when silver sulfide, a dull layer, reacts chemically with sulfur in the air. Tarnish can be removed by polishing the surface of the silver plate.

Q3. Which is more expensive: real silver or silver that has been plated with silver?

Silver plate is far less costly than sterling silver since it contains just a fraction of the amount of silver that sterling silver does.

In this context, “silver plate” refers to the finished product, a thin layer of silver plated on another metal (often copper, brass, or nickel).

Q4. Do you have to clean sterling silver after every use?

Because of its numerous positive properties, genuine sterling silver is an excellent choice for jewelry that can be worn daily. The most beautiful kind of silver, sterling, is also incredibly adaptable, inexpensive, and long-lasting.

Take proper care of your jewelry and take precautions to prevent coming into touch with specific substances. You should be able to wear your jewelry continuously without any problems occurring.

Q5. Can vinegar harm silver?

After looking into many methods for cleaning jewelry, we discovered that removing tarnish from silver may be done in a manner that is both simple and risk-free by using vinegar.

When vinegar comes into touch with tarnished silver, a chemical reaction occurs because vinegar, like lemon juice, is acidic. Because of this, the solution is perfect for use in the role of a silver cleaner.

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