What Does a 925 Stamp Mean on Jewelry? (Surprising Facts…)

You might be wondering what 925 means on jewelry.

If a 925 stamped on gold jewelry, does it mean it’s real gold?

Or what is 925 silver?

And how can you identify real 925 sterling silver from the fake ones?

In the jewelry world, you may come across pieces of jewelry with different stamps and numbers on the metal.

Some of the stamps you may see are 14K, 316L, PT 950 or 999, and 925. 

Knowing what the stamp means on a piece of jewelry will quickly let you know what the metal is composed of.

If it doesn’t have any kind of stamp, the metal is probably not genuine. 

925 and 999 stamps on jewelry indicate the piece is solid sterling silver. 


Is it good quality? 

This and so many more answers to your 925 jewelry questions lie ahead. 

What is 925 Silver?

If you have a ring that has 925 stamped on the inside of the shank, it is the mark of sterling silver jewelry, also known as 925 silver, is an alloy, not pure silver.

“925” means that this material contains 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% other strong metals (like copper). Because sterling silver is too delicate, it cannot be used alone. If it is not combined with another metal, objects made of pure silver can easily bend and break, so silver is often mixed with other metals to make it stronger. Fine silver jewelry is pure silver, or stamped 999. 

sterling silver 925 earrings with crystals that are displayed on a table

If a jewelry piece has sterling silver plating on it, it won’t be stamped 925. All solid silver is stamped. If you don’t see 925, don’t trust that it’s real sterling silver.

If there is 14 karat yellow gold plating over a sterling silver ring, the ring will still be stamped 925 because of the base metal.  So, it’s possible to see a yellow gold looking ring stamped 925.

Sterling silver and 925 silver are actually the same. Pure silver is referred to as silver or 999 silver. In the jewelry world, the words “sterling silver” and “silver”are interchangeable terms for sterling silver jewelry.

a necklace with shape of two hands hugging a pearl in the middle

Is 925 Silver Good Quality?

Aside from platinum and gold, sterling silver is the best quality of precious metals money can buy. Fine jewelry stores don’t tend to keep their engagement rings in sterling silver, but have many gemstone jewelry set in sterling silver. You can also find two tone gold and sterling silver pieces in stores as well.

a garnet gemstone ring in sterling silver is laying on a stone

Garnet 925 Silver Prague Gemstone Ring

Sterling silver is the best quality of silver there is on the market, so make sure it’s genuine sterling silver with the 925 stamp. When cared for properly, sterling silver is long-lasting.

a women hand wearing 2 sterling silver rings have the shape of beehives

Some people think that pure silver is better quality than sterling silver because it is pure. It may be worth more as a precious metal, but as jewelry, the quality is bad because of how soft the metal is. This is also why 24 karat solid gold jewelry is not found often in the US as well.

What Is Gold 925?

Sometimes you’ll see gold jewelry stamped with this hallmark. This simply means that the piece of jewelry is silver that’s been plated in gold and not solid gold. The hallmark is stating the purity of the underlying metal and not of the plating. This type of metal is known as gold vermeil and is commonly used for beautiful costume jewelry.

a snake shape ring in 925 sterling silver is putting on the table

Aztec Snake Ring

Some people will tell you that 925 on gold means that the item is made of 925/1000 parts gold or, to put it another way, is 92.5% gold. This is not true and is a misconception.

925 is not an accepted value for gold purity and has no connection to any common karat numbers used for denoting gold purity.

Gold is commonly classified according to karatage, with the most popular karat numbers being 18K, 14K, 12K, 10K and 9K. This states the amount of gold purity in each piece, with 24 being the maximum number of karats.

So, this means:

24K gold = 999

22K gold = 917 or 91.7%

18K gold = 750 or 75%

14K gold = 585 or 58%

10K gold = 417 or 41.7%

9K gold = 397 or 39.7%

So what would 925 be…?

925 would be 16.65 K gold, which is not a common purity value for gold.  The closest purity grade to ‘925’ gold would be 22 karats which is 917 or 91.7%.

a Labradorite Gemstone Earrings in 925 sterling silver is displaying in the stone

Labradorite Multi Gemstone Earrings

Gold plated sterling silver jewelry is difficult to tell apart from solid gold.

Unscrupulous retailers may try to dupe you into thinking that 925 gold is solid gold, because silver is much more affordable than gold and it is in their interest to do this. But don’t be fooled. You can check for the hallmark or have the piece acid tested by a professional jeweler to check the gold purity level of the metal.

Variations to 925

Sometimes you’ll see STER, STERLING, STG or Sterling Silver on the piece of jewelry. This all mean the same thing – that the piece is 925 silver.

You may also see the stamp 925 EP. This indicates sterling silver with a thin coating of gold electro plated onto it. In other words, it is a hallmark for gold vermeil.

If your gold piece has 925 Italy on it, it just means that the item is silver that’s been plated with gold and made in Italy.

How to Identify Real 925 Sterling Silver From The Fake Ones

Knowing how to identify real 925 sterling silver from the fake ones will be of a great help to you and save you from much pain later.

The techniques described here will help you do just that – to identify real sterling silver jewelry from the fake ones that are sold by certain untrustworthy sellers.

#1. Rub the jewelry using a soft white cloth. If you find any black marks on the cloth, then you can be sure that it is made of real sterling silver. This is because any air exposure causes real sterling silver to oxidize. This causes them to deteriorate with time, and the reason why black marks are found on the cloth they are polished with.

#2. Do The Nitric Acid Test. When drops of nitric acid are added to fake non-silver jewelries, they cause them to lose their color. Always ask a jeweler before buying 925 sterling silver from him if you can conduct the nitric acid test on it.

Nitric acid has no effect on real s925 sterling silver, so if the jeweler is selling you a genuine product, he won’t have any objection to that. But be sure to wear gloves and protect your eyes with goggles while doing the nitric acid test.

If the jewelry is made of real sterling silver, the part on which you drop the nitric acid will appear creamy in color, otherwise, if fake, it will appear green.

#3. Use the Smell Test. Real sterling silver shouldn’t smell. If it does, it is because there is too much copper in it.

#4. Use the Magnet Test. This is a simple test. Magnets have no effect on silver – just as they have no effect on gold or platinum. But if you find that the jewelry is attracted to the magnet, then it will be clear to you that it is not made of real sterling silver.

#5. Real sterling silver jewelry will have markings such as “Ster,” “925” or “Sterling Silver” in a hidden area. If you don’t see such a marking, be wary of it immediately.


Is 925 Silver Waterproof?

Technically, you can wear your 925 sterling silver jewelry in water. It doesn’t damage the metal itself. But in prolonged exposure, it will oxidize or tarnish faster than it might over time.

a necklace with a human face in 925 sterling silver is laying among small white stones

 Silver 925 Molon Labe Necklace 

So, if you don’t want to keep up with maintenance, it’s not recommended to wear sterling silver in any water, other than briefly washing hands. Wearing sterling silver in the pool can actually damage the metal itself because of the harsh chemicals. 

Does 925 Silver Tarnish?

Yes, sterling silver will always tarnish. Water is the ultimate enemy to sterling silver regarding tarnishing or oxidizing.

Tarnish causes your 925 piece to darken with black marks all over the surface. It looks dull and greasy. Thankfully, there are ways to both slow tarnish and manage it if it’s already happened.

Tarnish is going to happen, there is no way to stop it. But you can slow it down greatly by managing it. If you regularly clean your sterling jewelry, you’re cleaning off the oils from your fingers off of the metal. You can clean with water and a soft white cloth, but make sure to dry it as moisture will tarnish more.

If your silver piece is already tarnished, don’t worry because it can be easily restored. A silver polishing cloth will buff that tarnish right off, leaving it shiny new. 

Note: They do have professional silver cleaner, but it is very potent that it can strip off polish, antiquing, or colored rhodium. You will NEED a silver polishing cloth to bring back the polish, but the antiquing or rhodium will have to be redone.

Are There Diamonds in 925 Jewelry?

Diamonds are set in sterling silver, but you’re more likely to find more diamonds set in small carat weights under a 1/2 rather than larger carats. Cubic zirconia, gemstones, and diamond chips are seen set in sterling silver frequently.


a pair of Fatima hand shape earrings are hanging on a matchstick

Fatima Hand Gold Plated 925 Silver Earrings


We hope by now you have understood what sterling silver 925 or gold 925 means. And has worth in it. 

People around the world has been wearing these type of jewelry since ages. 

What about you?

Let me know in the comments below. Are you more into sterling silver than gold-plated jewelry or the other way around?

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