Silver vs Sterling Silver
Silver and sterling silver are valuable. Both are popular jewelry metals, but the composition of both is different which in turn leads to some differences in their physical and chemical characteristics.
Silver is shown with the symbol Ag. In Latin, silver is known as Argentum and thus silver got the symbol Ag. Silver is a d block metal; therefore, it is also known as a transition metal. Therefore, silver has common characteristics of other d block metals. For example, it has the ability to form compounds with several oxidation states and also can form complexes with various ligands. Its atomic number is 47 and has the electronic configuration as follows.
Though it originally has a 4d95s1 configuration, it gets 4d105s1 configuration because having a fully filled d orbital is more stable than having nine electrons there.
Silver is the transition metal in group 11 and period 5. As copper and gold, which are in the same group, silver has the oxidation state of +1. Silver is a soft, white and lustrous solid. Its melting point is 961.78°C, and the boiling point is 2162°C. Silver is a stable metal since it doesn’t react with atmospheric oxygen and water.
Silver is known as the metal with the highest electrical conductivity and thermal conductivity, but silver is very valuable; therefore, It cannot be used for regular electrical and thermal conducting purposes. Because of its color and durability, silver is heavily used for jewelry making. There are evidences to prove that silver has been used for centuries. Silver is naturally found in deposits as argentite (Ag2S) and horn silver (AgCl). Silver has few isotopes, but most abundant one is the 107Ag.
Sterling silver is an alloy made with silver and other metals like copper. Other than copper, germanium, zinc, platinum and additives like silicon, boron can be added. It contains 92.5% silver by mass and 7.5% other metals by mass.
By mixing pure silver with copper, sterling silver is made stronger than the fine silver. Therefore, sterling silver is more suitable for making jewelries and other objects than fine silver. Mixing won’t affect the ductility or the appearance of the fine silver. One drawback of sterling silver is that it is more reactive than the pure silver. Since it has alloy metals in it, they tend to react with atmospheric oxygen, water. Therefore, overtime they undergo corrosion and tarnishing.
What is the difference between Silver and Sterling Silver?
• Silver is an element whereas sterling silver is an alloy.
• Sterling silver contains 92.5% of silver, but it is mixed with other metals, as well.
• Pure silver is too soft to produce objects; therefore it is mixed with other metals to produce sterling silver.
• Sterling silver is stronger than silver.
• Pure silver isn’t very reactive, but sterling silver is reactive because of the other metal components it has. Therefore, sterling silver tends to undergo corrosion and tarnishing.