This Is the Difference Between Stainless Steel and Sterling Silver

Sep 15, 2020 | Lifestyle | 7 comments

You may not know it, but the metal makeup of your jewelry carries a lot of weight.

Despite the fact that many metals look similar, their material foundations are different—which affects their care, their longevity, and even their beautiful luster!

There are few metals that spark as much confusion as sterling silver and stainless steel. But what are the similarities and differences between these materials, and why should it affect your choice of jewelry?

Here’s what you should know about the difference between stainless steel and sterling silver.

Stainless Steel vs. Sterling Silver

First of all, let’s take a look at these two materials in their most basic form to understand the differences.

What Is Stainless Steel?

Stainless steel is an alloy, or a metal mixture, of both steel and chromium.

Steel, of course, is known for its durability and strength, which is why it is often used as a functional building material. Most of us will be less familiar with chromium, which is a refractory metal most often used in chromium plating, or “chrome.”

When added to steel, chromium increases the steel’s resistance to oxidation. This in turn can make the resulting mixture less changeable. It also adds a little lustrous shine.

Thanks to its beauty and durability, stainless steel is used in jewelry, utensils and cookware, and surgical equipment.

What Is Sterling Silver?

Sterling silver is another alloy, but this one is made of a very specific mixture: 92.5% silver and 7.5% of another metal, often copper. (This is why many pieces of sterling silver jewelry carry a marking that says “.925,” which sets it apart as premium sterling silver.) Silver alone is too soft to create anything that would hold its shape over long periods, which is why another metal must be used to add strength.

Sterling silver is used in jewelry and cookware as well. However, it’s also preferred for decorative ornaments and certain types of musical instruments.

What Is the Difference Between Stainless Steel and Sterling Silver?

Because both of these alloys are composed of different metals, there are a few distinctions between them—despite the fact that they look very similar!

Thanks to the influence of the added chromium, stainless steel does not tarnish (as the name suggests). The resulting product is a little duller than sterling silver, which is why it’s often used to make affordable jewelry that serves as the background for more attention-grabbing pieces, like cheap silver chains designed to display stunning pendants.

Sterling silver, on the other hand, is lighter and more lustrous than stainless steel—but that lightness comes at a cost. It can be a little softer than stainless steel, and it will also tarnish unless it’s properly cared for.

Choose With Care

Now that you know the difference, it can be easier to choose between the two options. Durability and resistance to tarnishing may be great for some jewelry wearers, while others will prefer more of a classic luster. Whatever you decide, it’ll have the beautiful silver look you’re going for—so you can’t go wrong!

For more lifestyle and beauty tips, be sure to check out the rest of the blog!

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay


  1. Jasmin Palaganas

    Ahhh yun PAla kaibahan nila momsh ang galing naalala ko nung last month momsh nakapulot mister ko ng silver momsh sabi ko baka fake yan tas binenta nya sa sanglaan nabenta nya 7OO walang wala kami nun momsh swerte nya sa kaksada nya nakita momsh

    • Ceejay Rash Flores

      Thanks for sharing this momsh,ngayon alam ko na kung pano kumilatis ng good quality,durable na jewelries.

  2. Lyka (mitra) Baqueros

    Yun po pala ang pinagkaiba po nung stainless at sterlibg silver. Mahirap po talaga sila minsan ma distinguish kung ano po si stainless kay sterling.. 🖒 salamat po sa tip na ito..

  3. Antoniette Sanchez David

    Ang laki ng pinag kaiba talaga nila mommy makikita mo talaga sa kanila pag malaking pagkakaiba sa isat isa

  4. Lea Latagan

    Thanks for sharing this mommy.,ganun pala un kung pano kumilatis ng good quality,yun ang pinagkaibahan nila. Ang laki ng pinagkaiba nila sa bawat isa .

  5. Donna Ria Mahayag

    hahahha napakahilig ko sa silver mag kaiba pala sila, kaya pala minsan yung ibang silver madali mamuti kumpara sa isa kong nabili yun pala mag kaiba sila ng klase pero same SILVER. hmmm now aware na ako sa kanila salamat


    Now I know, ang laki po talaga Ng difference nila dagdag kaalaman Ito for me the next time na pipili ako Ng jewelryay idea na ako salamat po


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