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Is there such thing as sterling silver plating?

Q. I have found the 925 murano beads on eBay and hidden in the description it says silver plating over copper but they are marked 925

HJ Jones
- Illinois
August 27, 2022

A. Hi HJ. It sounds like they are not truthfully labeled. I like to keep these discussions technical not political, but there is an elephant in the room: it seems that when corporate profits are at risk due to counterfeiting, agents are sent to every airport & flea market to address the problem, but when consumers are cheated no one is watching the store :-(

Luck & Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

⇩ Related postings, oldest first ⇩

Q. I spent years in retail jewellery and giftware and have bought and sold much EPNS and sterling silver. Now I buy and sell on eBay only and have seen many sellers of pandora style murano glass beads describe their core as 'sterling silver plate'. Many are stamped 925. I am confused - is this simply a misunderstanding on their part or an illegal and deceitful scam? I am assuming most of these pieces are made in China. I very much appreciate any light you can shine on this matter.


Janet Dixon-Hughes
eBay Buyer Seller - Sydney Australia
January 2, 2009

simultaneous replies

A. I've been in the plating field, primarily gold and silver, and although there are several "alloy" plating solutions out there, I've never seen one for sterling silver. Since both metals can be plated in a cyanide matrix, I suppose it could be done, but it would extremely difficult to control the ratio.

George Brackett III
- Maine
January 6, 2009

A. The 925 marking indicates an alloy which is 92.5% silver, and that is what constitutes "Sterling" silver in the USA. It means that the entire article is sterling silver, not silver plated.

In Europe you may encounter some "Sterling" which is marked 800 (80% silver). It is solid 80% silver, has a faint yellowish color, and may be overplated with 100% silver to give a whiter color.

Beyond that I don't fully understand your description or question.

jeffrey holmes
Jeffrey Holmes, CEF
Spartanburg, South Carolina
January 6, 2009

Q. What the question was: is there a sterling silver plating solution? The individual was saying that on eBay folks are advertising STERLING SILVER items then saying they are STERLING SILVER OVERLAY or PLATED with STERLING SILVER .. there is NO Sterling Silver Plating Solution that I KNOW OF.

Rock Scarfo
- Suwanee, Georgia
February 14, 2009

A. I agree with the responders that doubt sterling silver plating solutions exist. If the pieces are stamped .925 they should be sterling silver base. The plating is most likely pure silver. Pure silver tarnishes less than sterling because it lacks the copper content. "Sterling silver plated" can mean the sterling silver is plated with something else, hopefully pure silver.

Mark Baker
Fellow Plater - Syracuse, New York, USA
February 18, 2009

A. I am inclined to agree with the concern. I attempted to purchase a menorah marked as "sterling silver" -- thankfully discovering that it was not. Caveat emptor -- it was redefined in light of my inquiry as "sterling silver plate".

c b tayloe
- cheshire, UK
September 3, 2017

! Hi C B,
We've become pretty uncritical when vendors describe things by color rather than what they are actually made of.
A door knob of brass color will say brass on the box, and an automobile wheel painted with shiny paint will be called chrome ... but when we allow such mislabeling to invade the field of precious metals, which have intrinsic value, it's a problem :-)


pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey
September 2017

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