Sterling silver, sometimes referred to simply as ‘sterling’, is an alloy of metal made up of 92.5% silver and 7.5% other metals, usually copper. This is why the stamp for sterling silver jewelry is ’925′. Like gold, pure silver is generally too soft to use in manufacturing functional objects. When sterling silver tarnishes, it is in part due to the other metal used in its production, and in part a reaction of the silver to sulfur compounds in the air. This can be remedied by cleaning the item with a polishing cloth.
It is an ideal alternative to plated base metal for those who have metal allergies.