Sterling Silver and Thai Silver are used in jewelry making just as much as gold is and it’s just as versatile. A lot like gold, there are different types of silver, including plated silver, sterling silver, and Thai Silver. Obviously, plated silver is just a layer of the precious metal over a base, but what are the other two?
Sterling silver is probably the most common type of silver and one of the more well known. Sterling silver is used in jewelry, flatware, writing tools, and just about whatever else you can think of.
For something to be considered sterling silver, it must contain 92.5% silver ore. The remaining 7.5% is usually copper, giving some much-needed strength to the admittedly soft metal. Silver, like gold, is inherently soft, making it easy to form, shape, or carve the metal for any project. This is why silver jewelry can be so intricately detailed, unlike steel, copper, or bronze.
This international standard has been in use for many centuries. Sterling silver is normally coated with a thin layer of platinum to prevent tarnishing and to help maintain that silver color.
Almost all sterling silver will have a stamp saying “925” or “sterling”, making it easy to determine what the piece is made of.
Thai silver or “fine silver” is very similar to sterling silver, but with some notable differences. Thai silver has a higher silver content, making it closer to 99% than 92.%. This makes Thai silver that much softer and prone to bending or breaking. It also does not have the protective layer, making Thai silver more likely to tarnish to the yellow or black of old silver. Despite this, most people like this aspect, as the tarnishing can make the piece look more antique.
Thai silver is specifically made by the tribes in Thailand found in the Hill Country. It’s almost always worked by hand using centuries-old techniques. This means each example of Thai silver is wholly unique, making it that much more valuable to collectors and creators everywhere. Thai silver usually has very small, sometimes intricate designs on it as well.
Want to know more about metals in jewelry? Click here to learn about gold plating vs gold filled.