You can buy or sell collectible 925 silver items (also known as sterling silver), such as jewelry and flatware, for anywhere from under $10 to several hundred dollars. As scrap, silver is worth around $21 per ounce, but 925 silver is worth somewhat less (about $19) since it only contains 92.5% silver.
How Much Is 925 Silver Worth?
It’s less expensive than some other metals, such as white gold, but that doesn’t mean it lacks value.
Some 925 silver pieces are more valuable in their original form since they may be considered fine/luxury items, and some are antiques. You can also sell silver as scrap.
Sterling silver is found in common but finely-crafted items.
Some examples include:
- Jewelry (necklaces, earrings, rings, and bracelets)
- Tableware (cutlery, serving trays, napkin rings, etc.)
- Picture frames
- International coins
The collectible value of sterling silver varies depending on silver’s current spot price, as well as the weight, age, design, other included metals or stones, maker, and whether you have one item or a set (such as a complete flatware set).
Some sterling silver is notable for its material content, while other pieces are notable for their brand/manufacturer or antique quality.
Preserving Silver Value
Sterling silver is relatively durable and somewhat resistant to tarnishing. However, proper care can help keep your sterling silver in excellent condition and help retain its value.
- Store it in a dry, cool place. Sterling silver can tarnish when exposed to humidity, sweat, cosmetics, household cleaning products, chlorine, sulfur, and chemicals. Be sure to take jewelry off and store it when doing things like showering, swimming, or washing dishes.
- Keep pieces separated. It’s best to store each piece in an individual pouch or case, so they don’t rub together and become scratched.
- Polish it regularly with a soft cloth. This will help your silver maintain its shine. Be sure not to use rough materials like paper or polyester.
Like most metals, sterling silver is scrapable. The dealer may pay per ounce, gram, or troy ounce.
The price of silver fluctuates daily; at the time of writing, the average over the past year has been about $21 per ounce. You can check the current spot price of silver by visiting JM Bullion’s pricing index.
One ounce equals about 0.9 troy ounces and 28 grams; keep these conversions in mind so you can be sure you’re getting a fair deal.
Note, as well, that weight isn’t the only thing that determines the price you get. Since 925 silver only contains 92.5% silver, you’ll receive around 92.5% of the silver spot price before fees.
The dealer’s fee may be smaller if you sell a large amount of silver. For example, on a small transaction, you might pay up to 20% to the dealer, whereas for a larger transaction, you might only pay 2%.
Testing for Authenticity
Before buying or selling 925 silver, you’ll want to be sure it’s genuinely 925 silver. It can be easy to mistake sterling silver for other types of metal, such as silver plating. (See our related research for information on the value of quadruple-plated silver.)
If a piece is plated, over time, the silver plating will chip away and expose whatever metal is underneath it.
Since it’s difficult to tell real sterling silver from something that is silver-plated by appearance alone, here are a few things you can do to test for authenticity:
- Look for the “925” or sterling silver stamp. Real sterling silver will include a “925,” “Ster,” or “Sterling Silver” mark somewhere discreet, such as inside the band of a ring.
- Wipe the jewelry with a soft, light-colored cloth. If it leaves black marks on the fabric, it’s real silver; silver oxidizes when exposed to air.
- Test it with a magnet. Silver isn’t magnetic, so if the magnet is attracted to the piece, you’ll know it’s a different metal.
- Test it with nitric acid. Nitric acid won’t affect sterling silver but will change the color of non-silver jewelry.
- Use your sense of smell. Real sterling silver doesn’t have a strong scent; it shouldn’t give off a metallic smell (like the smell of a penny).