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What Is Sterling Silver?

All jewellery sold by Adalise is produced using 925 Sterling silver, is tested and hallmarked by the London Assay Office and therefore comply with all UK Assay legislation for British sterling silver.

Sterling silver is often characterized as pure silver, when in fact it is a silver alloy. Pure silver, also called fine silver, is defined as 99.9% pure but is generally too soft for most uses. Therefore, sterling silver contains 92.5% by mass of silver and 7.5% by mass of other metals, usually copper. The addition of the base metal gives it strength whilst preserving the malleability and beauty of the precious metal.

The sterling silver standard has a minimum millesimal fineness of 925. Millesimal fineness is a system of denoting the purity of platinum, gold and silver alloys by parts per thousand of pure metal by mass in the alloy.

In the U.K. there are strict hallmarking laws and all imported items over 7.78gms in weight must be hallmarked at one of the four Assay Offices.

It is a common misconception that a '925' stamp for sterling silver is a hallmark. Whilst a piece of jewellery with a sole '925' mark may be generally sterling silver and the mark recognised in the country where the item was made, the quality is not assured and has no legal standing in the U.K.

Therefore, to legally sell jewellery as British Sterling Silver it has to have a full hallmark applied by a British Government Assay Office after metal testing. The only time a '925' mark has any legallity is when it forms part of the set of marks applied by an Assay office.

Hallmarking is carried out under the statuatory juristiction of The Hallmarking Act 1973. U.K. hallmarks for sterling silver now comprise a minimum of three seperate compulsory assay marks:

The Maker's or Sponser's Mark:
This indicates the maker or sponsor of the article. In the UK this mark consists of at least two letters within a shield. No two marks are the same.

Metal and Fineness (purity) Mark
Indicates the precious metal content of the article and that it is not less than the fineness of the article indicated. The fineness is indicated by a millesimal number and the metal type is indicated by the shape of the surround.

The Assay Office Mark
Indicates the particular Assay Office at which the article was tested and marked. There are now 4 Assay Offices in the UK - London, Edinburgh, Birmingham and Sheffield.

Lastly, by law, a jeweller has to display an Assay Office Dealers Notice, supplied by the Assay Office, at his commercial premises. This notice explains the appropriate hallmarks to the consumer.