What are silver hallmarks and what do they mean?
What is Sterling silver? 925
The vast majority of all products that we stock are made of Sterling Silver or 925 Silver as it is also known. For silver to qualify as Sterling it must consist of 92.5% silver and 7.5% of another base metal which strengthens the silver making it more durable and easier to work with. Copper is a commonly used alloy. 925 Silver is always a popular choice for jewellery and in particular larger silverware items as it is more affordable that other precious metals. Silver has been used by humans for centuries and has had many uses including surgical and musical instruments.
What is Britannia silver? 958
The Britannia Standard was established in 1696 following the practice of melting down coinage for the manufacture of silver (a custom reversed in times of war) which at the time was deemed to be excessive so silversmiths were forbidden to use Sterling but were obliged to use the higher standard of 95.8%. To denote this a figure of a woman called Britannia was used The clamour against the sole imposition of this standard was so great that the Sterling Standard was restored in 1720. It has a softer constitution than Sterling Silver and is not commonly used these days.
What is Fine silver? 999
Fine silver consists of 99.9% silver and is extremely soft in comparison to other silver standards. It is rarely used in manufacture nowadays and is only used in investment or trade commodities exchange where it must have a visible 999 hallmark to denote its standard.