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tline3open  A Review/Recheck of the "facts"

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Author Topic:   A Review/Recheck of the "facts"
Scott Martin
Forum Master

Posts: 11520
Registered: Apr 93

iconnumber posted 10-28-2003 12:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I feel we all need to recheck some of the "facts" being used in some of the more recent posts.

  • Fine silver = Pure Silver = 999/1000 silver
  • Sterling Silver = 925/1000 pure Silver, 75/1000 other metals (often copper).
  • EPNS = Electro Plate Nickel Silver = silverplate
  • EP = Electro Plate = silverplate
  • silverplate = a thin coating of pure silver over a base metal (i.e., Nickel Silver, copper, etc.).

  • Sterling Silver is harder than pure silver.
  • Pure silver is a "brighter" (more reflective) silver than Sterling Silver.
  • Silverplate is "brighter" than Sterling.

  • Sulfur chemically binds with silver. This results in tarnish.
    Fine silver, Silverplate and Sterling all tarnish.

Pure silver or silverplate is softer than sterling so abrasive polishes or a lot of use will remove the silver from the silverplated object.

Sterling silver is harder (less malleable) than pure silver. Abrasive polishes or a lot of use will remove the silver from sterling but it is at a slower rate than pure silver. Also Sterling is not a thin coating but rather it is the same mix (925 parts silver & 75 parts other metals) through and through so abrasive wear will be noticed only when it affects the pattern/engraving detail. It is the alloying with other metals that makes sterling harder and able to resist abrasives better.

Electroplating is a process of moving silver molecules through a liquid medium to coat a base metal object. The nuances of EP science is too much info for most of us. Basically electrical currant (D/C not A/C) is used. One end of the electrical circuit is attached to a pure silver bar. The other end of the electrical circuit is attached to the base metal object. The both objects are place in a liquid bath. The liquid completes the circuit. Over time molecules of pure silver move from the silver bar through the bath and to the base metal object, where the silver coats the base metal object. The longer the object is in the bath and the currant is applied the thicker the silverplate coating.

Electroplating with sterling is possible but not easy. Silver molecules travel thorough the bath at a different rate than other metals. If you replace the bar of pure silver with a sterling bar and depending on the currant, the acid bath and other things the results will not be a coating of sterling (925 parts silver & 75 parts other metals).

To cover up bad repairs it is not uncommon for a sterling object to be silverplated. Silverplating will not strengthen/harden the object. Also to save money, someone might have a copy of a sterling object made in silverplate. If the original and copy (say candle sticks) are going to be used side by side, the color difference will be noticeable. Silverplating both will make their color match.

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