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What’s The Difference Between Argent Silver And Sterling Silver? (Let’s Get To Know)

What’s The Difference Between Argent Silver And Sterling Silver? (Let’s Get To Know)

Silver has been associated with wealth and prosperity for centuries. Since you can’t tell the status of silver from a glance, whether you own sterling silver or pure silver, it’s essential to keep the following information in mind.

Pure silver is so soft to convert into something durable. So, different metals are added to increase the silver’s durability.

Based on added metals, silver is divided into many different types. Two of these are Argentium silver and Sterling silver. Argent silver and sterling silver are both types of silver alloy.

The main difference between argent silver and sterling silver is that argent has more copper than sterling. Argent silver is a form of sterling silver. Another difference between the two is that argent is made from an alloy of copper, zinc, and nickel, whereas sterling is made from an alloy of 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper.

Let’s indulge in the details of argent and sterling silver.

Argent Silver

Argent silver is an alloy of silver, copper, and zinc. It is usually not pure silver but has a minimum of 92.5% silver. Argent silver is often used to make jewelry, cutlery, and other household items.

An image of some silver ware.
Household items are made up of Argent Silver

The name comes from the French word for silver, argent. It’s also called “white bronze,” which is a misnomer because it isn’t bronze; that name was given to argent silver because of its similarity to the color of bronze.

Argent silver can be polished to look like solid silver but costs less than solid silver. Argent silver is also known as German silver, nickel silver, or imitation white metal.

Sterling Silver

Sterling silver is an alloy of approximately 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% other metals, usually copper. It’s been used as a precious metal since the 1300s, and it’s a popular choice for jewelry because it can be effortlessly polished and cleaned.

Sterling silver has a lower melting point than pure silver, so it can be soldered or welded together to form more substantial jewelry pieces. It also has a lower cost than solid gold, making it more affordable when you’re looking for something special but don’t have a lot of cash.

You may have heard that sterling silver is marked with a stamp bearing the word “sterling.” This means that the piece was manufactured under standards set by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), which sets standards for many industries worldwide.

What’s The Difference Between Argent And Sterling Silver?

  • Argent silver, also known as “silver plate,” is a type of silver that has been electroplated with copper. The term “argent” means “white” in French, and this is the color that is achieved upon plating the metal.
  • Sterling silver, by contrast, is an alloy with approximately 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper, which gives it a higher melting point than argent silver and makes it less likely to peel or chip when worn. It also has a more durable finish than argent silver, making it ideal for jewelry.
  • Argent Silver is not actually silver, but a nickel alloy coating over copper. The purpose of Argent Silver is to provide the look and feel of sterling silver without the cost. Sterling Silver is 92.5% pure silver, while Argent Silver has a lower percentage of actual silver content.
  • Another difference between argent silver and sterling silver is their price point: Argent Silver costs less than sterling because it uses less precious metal in its composition.
  • Moreover, Argent Silver can be spotted by its darker color—it’s more like pewter than bright white like sterling—and its shininess will wear off over time, making it look duller than sterling.

Here is a table summarizing these differences between argent and sterling silver.

Argent SilverSterling Silver
Argent silver is an alloy of silver with different metals like copper, zinc and nickel, etc.Sterling silver is an alloy of copper and silver.
It’s darker in color.Its color is bright white.
Argent silver has a low melting point.Its melting point is pretty high.
It has less amount of silver as compared to other alloys.It has 92.5 % silver in its composition.
Argent silver is pretty reasonable in price.Sterling silver is pretty expensive.
Argent silver is more durable and oxidation resistant.It is more prone to oxidization due to environmental effects.
Argent vs. Sterling Silver

Here is a short video clip showing the difference between jewelry making with argent silver and sterling silver.

Sterling Silver vs. Argent Silver

What Does Argent Mean In Jewelry?

Argent is a word that comes from the French word for silver. It is used in jewelry to describe any metal that is white or silvery in color and has a metallic luster.

An image of a pair of silver earrings.
Silver Earrings

In the United States, “argent” is the standard term for pure silver jewelry. This means that when you see an item described as “argent,” it consists entirely of silver.

However, other words describe jewelry made of pure silver in other parts of the world.

For example, in English-speaking countries outside of the U.S., an item described as “sterling,” or “sterling silver” typically contains 92.5 percent pure silver by weight (the rest being copper).

Which Is Better, Argentium Silver Or Sterling Silver?

Argentium silver is better than sterling silver in almost every way.

  • Argentium silver is a newer alloy made with less copper and more silver than traditional sterling silver so it’s more complicated, which means it won’t bend as quickly and is more resistant to tarnishing.
  • The main advantage of Argentium over sterling is that it is not subject to the same laws regarding hallmarks, so it doesn’t have to be stamped with the symbol of its place of origin.
  • This means that Argentium can be sold legally as “fine silver,” while sterling typically cannot because of the Hallmarking Act of 1973.
  • In addition to being harder, Argentium is more resistant to tarnish than traditional sterling silver. It’s also cheaper to produce and comes in a wider variety of colors than traditional sterling silver.

Is Argent Real Silver?

Argent is a type of silver, but it’s not as pure as what you’d get from a specific piece of jewelry.

Argent mixes silver and base metals like copper, zinc, or tin. It’s used in industries like plumbing and electronics because it’s resistant to corrosion—which means it can be used for objects exposed to water or other harsh conditions.

Suppose you’re looking for something 100% pure silver (which isn’t necessary for jewelry or other decorative purposes). In that case, you’ll want to ensure that anything with the word “argent” is pure silver.

Final Takeaway

  • Argent silver and sterling silver are different types of silver.
  • Argent silver is a cheaper metal that resembles sterling silver, but it’s not considered sterling.
  • Argent silver contains less than 925 parts per 1000 of pure silver and will tarnish more quickly than sterling.
  • Sterling silver contains at least 92.5 percent pure silver, so it’s much more durable than argent. It’s also less expensive than pure silver and is tarnish-resistant.
  • Argent silver is used in the arts, while sterling silver is often used in jewelry.

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