There are several types of silver in jewelry, since it is one of the most used metals in jewelry making. However, in its purest form it is too soft to use and can be damaged. Therefore, it must be alloyed with other metals to improve its hardness and durability. What has given rise to many types of silver alloys for the manufacture of jewelry. While some have silver in their name, others have nothing in their makeup.

Similarly, another feature present in these alloys and that is highly valued in jewelry is its characteristic silver color. But, although several types of silver share this color. In some cases we will find that they look like silver but are actually made of other metals.

It is like this, like all these types of silver they are used in jewelry today, so knowing their differences will help us decide which one to buy. Here is a summary of the main types of silver used in jewelry.

1. silver jewelry

You will often come across jewelery listed as ‘silver plated’ but with no indication of silver content or type of alloy.

What is this type of silver… is open to interpretation! Actually, it could be anything. As we have already mentioned, 100% silver is not used in jewelry.

The silver should be clearly marked with approved hallmarks and the purity level should be stated so you know what type of alloy it is.

In general, jewelry described simply as silver tends to be inexpensive silver plating that wears off after a while.

Always look for the stamp or ask the retailer for the exact content of the alloy. They should be able to tell you this.

So be careful when you find ‘silver’ jewelry as it is a mystery metal.

two. fine silver jewelry


  • The purest silver used in jewelry.
  • shiny and white
  • Hypoallergenic


Fine silver, also called pure silver, is the closest thing to silver in its purest form in jewelry. It is made from 99.9% silver and 0.1% other elements.

Fine silver is shiny and white and can be formed into delicate and beautiful pieces of jewelry. But it can be scratched, change shape and lose shape easily. Because of this, sterling silver is not recommended for jewelry use, except in earrings and pendants or other low-impact areas.

The hallmark or hallmark of fine silver is .999 or .999FS. This metal is hypoallergenic since silver by itself does not cause allergic reactions.

3. sterling silver jewelry



  • They tarnish easily
  • They are harder to maintain

Sterling silver is the most famous silver alloy and has been used for centuries. It is the standard silver alloy in most parts of the world. Sterling silver is 92.5% pure silver combined with 7.5% copper to create a durable and wearable metal.

Sterling silver is shiny and reflective, but is known to tarnish easily. Over time, sterling silver will change color and darken as it oxidizes. This is due to the copper content of the alloy. However, this tarnish is usually easy to clean, and in some cases, jewelers use this tarnish to accent patterns and designs.

The most common mark for sterling silver is .925, .925 STG, while vintage pieces often have the older marks: STG, STERLING, or STER.

Sterling silver is typically hypoallergenic, but can sometimes have trace amounts of nickel or other metals that can cause reactions in rare cases.

High-quality sterling silver jewelry is sometimes rhodium-plated to enhance the metal’s whiteness, brilliance, and durability. This adds value to the piece and prevents it from tarnishing.

Four. argentium silver jewelry


  • Durable
  • tarnish resistant
  • easy to maintain
  • hypoallergenic


  • Masks
  • May fog up under certain conditions

This is a brand of modern silver alloys created to be more durable and tarnish resistant than sterling silver. It is the 21st century version of sterling silver.

Argentium silver contains more pure silver than sterling silver and is available in two grades: 93.2% or 96% purity. It is alloyed with copper and germanium, which makes the metal harder, more resistant to tarnishing, easier to clean, and easier to maintain.

Because this is a mark, only authorized jewelers can use the Argentium hallmark, which features a flying unicorn. Argenitum silver is nickel-free and hypoallergenic, but it also costs more than most other silver alloys.

Notice how argentium silver reacts differently to heating compared to sterling silver.

5. nickel silver jewelry


  • Cheap
  • good for jewelry
  • Feasible
  • Durable


  • It’s not silver!
  • They are not hypoallergenic
  • Often sold as real sterling silver

Typically used in costume jewelry, alpaca is not actually silver. In fact, the word silver here simply refers to its silver color and has nothing to do with the metals in its composition.

Most people tend to think of nickel silver as a silver alloy, but in fact it contains 60% copper, 20% nickel, and 20% zinc. It can be lustrous and shiny and very similar in appearance to sterling silver, but it is actually a nickel alloy.

Alpaca is easy to mold and craft into elaborate designs. However, it is not hypoallergenic and should be avoided if you are sensitive to metal allergies.

This alloy is also sold under many other names: German Silver, Alpaca Silver, and Argentan Silver, none of which indicate that they are a nickel alloy, which can be misleading.

6. silver jewelry


  • Affordable
  • good for jewelry


  • They are not hypoallergenic
  • They are not durable
  • Very little silver was used

Like gold plated jewelry, silver plated simply means that a very thin layer of silver has been plated over a base metal. The amount of silver used in plating is so small that it is almost negligible. It is perfect for use in cheap jewelry, but it is not very durable.

Over time, the silver plating will chip or wear away, exposing the metal beneath. Silver jewelry is not hypoallergenic, it does not have a hallmark because it is just costume jewelry and it has a short life.

7. silver filled jewelry


  • More silver than silver
  • Affordable


  • easily tarnishes
  • not hypoallergenic

Silver filled has similar characteristics to gold filled metals. In terms of value, it falls somewhere between sterling silver and silver plating. Silver fill is not an alloy, but rather a type of coating that contains a heavier layer of silver.

Unlike silver plate, silver-filled metals contain at least 5 to 10 percent silver that is bonded to the base metal. This variety of silver came onto the market in the last 10 years when silver prices rose during the economic downturn. However, as silver prices have dropped, silver filled jewelry is not easy to find.

Silver filled jewelry is difficult to maintain as it tarnishes easily. However, on the plus side, it is less expensive than sterling silver.

8. tribal silver jewelry



  • May contain dangerous metals
  • not hypoallergenic
  • may not contain silver
  • low durability

There are many alloys on the market that are marked tribal silver and are used in exotic jewelry designs. These vary in the types of metals used in the alloys and some may not contain silver at all. In other words, like nickel silver, tribal silver alloys can only have the name «silver» labeled because it looks like silver.

Tribal silver varieties are great for jewelry and original designs, but always check with the retailer about the metals used in them. Because these metals come from other lands where regulations are different, there may be dangerous metals like lead in them.