Is Sterling Silver Hypoallergenic?

Experiencing allergies because of wearing a specific type of jewelry is not what many people want. That is why people often go for pure silver jewelry since it is known for being hypoallergenic. 

Hypoallergenic means the product does not trigger allergic reasons. 

Now that we know pure silver is hypoallergenic, what about sterling silver?

The quick answer is, Maybe. Sterling Silver being hypoallergenic, depends mainly on the metals infused in silver for hardening it. Check out this guide to know about “Is Sterling Silver Hypoallergenic?”

About Sterling Silver

Sterling silver composition includes 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% other metals such as copper, nickel, zinc, platinum, silicon, and germanium. 

Copper is hypoallergenic in its pure form, but the biggest downside is how it reacts with oxygen to form copper oxide. This is what leaves you with a tarnished looked. As a result, you may have to polish your jewelry to keep it looking good. 

Nickel can also be used in place of copper. However, nickel is highly allergenic to many people. Therefore, it is advisable first to check if the sterling silver has nickel metal. Keep off such jewelry if you are already allergic to nickel. 

So, as much as sterling silver is 92.5% in terms of pure silver, there is no way to determine absolutely that it would be hypoallergenic. 

People with sensitive skin might find the 925 sterling silver allergenic while others might find it hypoallergenic. 

This should tell you that not all sterling silver jewelry is hypoallergenic. But, first, make sure that you understand what metal has been used in hardening silver as it is the one that can make the jewelry allergenic or vice versa.

Also, buying from reputable jewelers is recommended to end up with correct information about the contents of the jewelry. 

Silver vs. Sterling Silver: What is the Difference?

Now that you know more about the composition of sterling silver from above, you may also want to know about pure silver. 

As the name suggests, pure silver will have few trace elements. So that is how such jewelry would be 99.9% silver with a few trace elements taking up the remaining 0.01%.

We saw that it had 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% other metals for sterling silver. 

Since pure silver is soft, it might not be the easiest to shape sometimes. They will mix it with other metals such as copper to harden it before shaping it. Therefore, you would not find it commonly being used for delicate jewelry items. 

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Sterling Silver vs. silver

The softness of silver also means products made of pure silver will not be as durable. This is because they can be bent out of shape, leaving you with deformed jewelry. 

That is not something you have to worry about with sterling silver. It is stronger and will keep the piece holding its shape for a long time. 

Sterling silver would also have other uses other than making jewelry. Such includes making silverware, platters, coffee sets, plates, and silver-plated items. So you can see that there will be more uses for sterling silver generally. 

As for the stamp, pure silver will have it as “999” or “99.9”. This indicates that it is 99.9% pure silver. 

Sterling silver stamp on the other hand, is “925” because it is 92.5% pure silver. These are some key differences you should always note when buying silver jewelry. 

Related: Difference between Sterling Silver and Stainless Still

Here is a video with more tips about the two

Benefits of Using Sterling Silver

Sterling silver might not be as expensive as gold and platinum, but it will be a preferred choice for jewelry. Why is this the case? Here are reasons for using sterling silver jewelry.

Best Durability 

If you want jewelry for regular use, then go for sterling silver. The metal is mainly scratch-resistant, and does not buckle, twist out of shape, or bend. So it should serve you longer. 

Its affordable price also means you get good quality jewelry that can serve you for a long time. So long as you can care for it correctly, it can end up being part of family heirlooms. 

Timeless elegance 

Thanks to its timeless elegance, Sterling silver can remain fashionable for several years. Designers love to play around with sterling silver and shape it into different designs based on your liking. 

No matter the design, you are likely to find it fashionable several years later. Just make sure you are working with a skilled jeweler to ensure you have the best jewelry designs. 

Customizable design 

Jewelers find it easy to work with sterling silver. You can easily get cute designs online; your jeweler will have them made to your specifications. Some people would want the initials of their children in the jewelry; just know this can happen. 

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Since personalization is not a problem, sterling silver would generally be a good choice for a customized look. 

Stylish 

Sterling silver is still quite stylish. You can always pair it with different outfits without worrying about clashing. You may get some people pairing it with brass, platinum, and other accessories. 

This versatility makes the sterling silver piece good for different applications.

Hypoallergenic jewelry

If you have sensitive skin, you might need sterling silver. So long as the metal used to harden silver is not nickel, you should be safe. 

Sterling silver mostly has copper being used to harden silver. Copper strengthens it while also maintaining its hypoallergenic nature. 

Maintenance is low 

Maintaining your jewelry is key in ensuring it remains good for a long time. 

Tarnishing is one of the problems you can face with sterling silver. However, it is not something permanent. You can always have the sterling jewelry polished more often to leave it looking good. 

Sometimes the jewelry might come with a tarnish-resistant layer. This keeps it looking good for longer without the need for regular polishing. 

Is Sterling Silver Hypoallergenic – Causes of Allergies in Sterling Silver Jewelry

Sterling silver can be a good pick for those who want hypoallergenic jewelry. But, it is still important to know what makes sterling silver allergenic.

  1. Nickel

Nickel is a generally cheap material. That is why several jewelers might try to use it in making sterling silver jewelry and rip you off with exorbitant prices. 

Considering that around 12% of the human population has nickel allergies, it is best not to use such jewelry. So, always buy from top-rated jewelers or ask for the metal components of the jewelry before buying. 

  1. Silver plating 

Several dubious jewelers are now just using silver plating to sell to unsuspecting clients that the pieces are pure silver. 

The biggest challenge is the base metal. Once the silver plating wears off, you are left with the base metal, which could be allergenic. Common base materials include brass, copper, and other alloys.

If the base metal is allergenic, you would easily face a reaction once the thin silver layer wears off. 

  1. Silver filling 

You might have come across scenarios where you are advised to buy jewelry with a silver filling. However, that might not be good because the piece can end up being allergenic. 

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When they claim it has a silver filling, it means the middle layer has silver. So, what about the outer metal? Is it as good as the silver inside, or is the metal allergenic? Make sure not to buy such a type of sterling silver to prevent an allergic reaction. 

Pros 

  • Sterling silver has a beautiful luster that people love
  • It is a valuable piece of jewelry you can get for yourself
  • It is cheaper than platinum and gold but still valuable to make people like it
  • Having the luminous shine makes more people want it
  • Can leave you with fabulous customized jewelry 
  • Being malleable makes it versatile for different designs 

Cons

  • Since sterling silver is soft, it can scratch and bend easily
  • Sterling silver tends to tarnish fast when exposed to water 

FAQs

Is sterling silver recommended for sensitive skin?

Most sterling silver jewelry would be hypoallergenic. This means you should be fine even if you have sensitive skin or ears. 

Can you wear sterling silver for new piercings?

Sterling silver would be safe for healed piercings only. So, wait for the piercings to heal before you can start using sterling silver jewelry.

Can sterling silver jewelry get wet?

It is possible to get it wet, but we recommend drying it before storing it. Also, ensure that you store this jewelry type away from moisture. 

How can you test the purity of sterling silver?

Several methods are available, but the acid test is the most common. Take small shavings of the silver and put them in acid. If the silver changes color, it has a purity level of less than 92.5%. Therefore, you will know that it is a low-quality piece. 

Is sterling silver jewelry good quality?

Considering that sterling silver will have 92.5% pure silver, it ranks among the best quality for collectors and designers too. Moreover, such a piece of jewelry can last for many years while retaining its shape. 

Final Thoughts

Sterling silver is simply one of the best and most affordable types of jewelry you can get today. Most people love this jewelry type because it allows for intricate designs. It is durable and easy to maintain. The best part is that it can be hypoallergenic if the additional metals are also hypoallergenic. So go for sterling silver jewelry with copper additions as it is hypoallergenic. 

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