Silver and sterling silver are used interchangeably to describe jewelry but in reality they are different things. Silver (usually referred to as fine silver) consists of 99.9% of pure silver whereas sterling silver consists of 92.5% fine silver and 7.5 percent alloy metal, usually copper.
Pure silver cannot be used for jewelry or other objects since it is simply too soft. This is why sterling silver is a favorite medium for a lot of designers since it is affordable and malleable - it can be shaped into almost any form imaginable. It is a very popular metal for fine jewelry.
Since sterling silver contains an alloy metal it makes it susceptible to tarnish. This is why silver jewelry sometimes needs to be polished. This is relatively easy to do and your silver jewelry will get its shine back in no time. Sterling silver does not rust so it is safe in water and it is also a non toxic metal which makes it safe for jewelry (or cutlery!).
Now you know!
Raven & Stone