Beads, Findings and the word Silver

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Many sellers use the word silver to describe the items they are selling, but what do the actually mean?

Well, that really does depend on the context in which it is used.

Sterling Silver:

Sterling Silver must reach at least .925 percent pure with only 7.5 parts of another metal, This other metal is usually copper to ensure hardness.

Silver plate

This means that the jewellery is not silver, but a base metal covered in silver. Usually, there's no mark but if there is, the letters SP or EP (or similar variations) will appear on the jewellery. Over time, the plating may wear away and once that happens whatever is underneath the plating is going to start showing through.

Tibetan Silver/Bali Silver/Indian Silver

This is not pure silver more a description of the source. Older pieces did have a high silver content, but that isn’t so now. There’s a good chance that the alloy contains base metals that could cause a reaction – including nickel and/or antimony. Silver content can be as low as 1 or 2%

White Metal /Silver Tone

This can refer to any metal that is the same colour as silver. It may be that the seller is unsure of the metal content, but it is highly unlikely to contain any silver, and probably is an alloy that contains some nickel.


Providing you know what it is you are buying they all serve their purpose in the beading hobby. 

If  in doubt - ask the seller.


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