Silver vs Silverplate
Most people find it difficult to distinguish between Silver and silver-plate due to their same appearance. Most Jewellery (jewelry) made of silver and silver plate are commonly identified erroneously. Silver plate is a coating of silver, which gives a decorative appearance on another metal. Silver as it is or silver alloyed with another metal is normally called silver.
Silver is a ductile, malleable metal. As a pure metal, silver is very soft. Therefore, it is alloyed with copper, nickel and tungsten to make it harder and to increase its durability. Alloying also improves the workability. Silver is alloyed with different percentages of other metals depending on the requirement of the application. The most commonly found silver alloy contains 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper by weight. With a higher silver percentage, the resistant to corrosion of the alloy is higher. Pure silver cannot be used to make items due to its softness. Silver has the highest reflectivity and whitest colour and is a noble metal. Also, silver has the highest electrical and thermal conductivity, which makes it useful in circuit boards. It falls into the category of precious metals, and it is the most common one because it is the least expensive precious metal. However, it is still expensive, which makes it necessary to have silver plated items to imitate the look of silver. But silver items are more durable than silver plated items.
Silver – plate means that a coating of silver is applied on another cheaper and harder metal. Coins, jewellery, tableware, ornaments, bells, etc are some of the silver plated items. Plating was started in the 19th century. Plating of silver can be carried out fusing silver on to a surface of another metal by immersion plating, electroless deposition or electro deposition. Normally a solution of [ KAg(CN)2 ] is used for silver plating. Peeling, flaking away and poor adherence are some of the problems of plating. But these can be overcome using a proper solution with a correct concentration of silver. Just after plating, the items have a matt finish, which can be turned to a lustrous surface by mechanical polishing. The decorative appearance of plated items does not last long as it wears off quickly, and plated metals are corroded. Sometimes the oxidized parts in plated silver can be visible by their colour.
Most of the time, it is indicated by some surface marks in silver items that they are not plated. Even though both silver and silver plate have the same appearance, the appearance of silver plated items does not last long due to the coating wearing off and oxidation of the metal beneath the coating. There are tests available to identify silver and silver plate.
What is the difference between Silver and Silver-plate?
• Silver is expensive; silver plate is less expensive.
• The durability of silver is more than that of silver plate.
• Silver items are made of one solid, but silver plate items are made of another metal and a silver coating is applied on the surface of that metal.