Sterling Silver and Gemstone Jewellery

What’s the difference between Sterling Silver, Silver Overlay and Silver Plated Jewellery?

What's the difference between Sterling Silver, Silver Overlay and Silver Plated Jewellery?

Sterling Silver is a combination of 92.5% pure silver and the other 7.5% is another metal, like copper or nickel or a combination of metals, metals combined are called alloy.

Pure silver is too soft to make jewellery from and would bend and dent and really not be durable and that’s why it’s mixed to make it harder.

Jewellery with a Silver Overlay or Silver Filled are both created by using a thick layer of Sterling Silver over a base metal. So what you see and feel is real Sterling Silver, but it’s not solid Sterling Silver all the way through.

Don’t confuse this with Silver Plating though as that’s another product altogether.  Silver Plating is a very thin layer of silver sprayed onto the base metal (like copper or nickel or brass) and this wears off realtively quickly.

Why does Desiderate make jewellery in Silver Plate, Silver Overlay and Sterling Silver?

Sometimes you want a stunning high quality piece to wear often or daily that will last forever, like a silver bangle or a gemstone ring or a pair of quality earrings.

And from time to time you merely want a fashion piece to wear for a special occasion or just to wear every now and then and you don’t want to spend the earth!

Maybe you're searching for a gift and the price point will be an important part of your choice.

Desiderate Jewellery is for women from all walks of life and it’s important to us that we provide quality, stylish pieces in price points to suit the occasion.

Desiderate Jewellery is for women from all walks of life

How long will Silver Plated pieces last?

Silver Plated jewellery is made through a process that involves spraying a fine layer of silver to the surface of the base metal. The complete process involves electrically charging to piece first so that it attracts the silver particles. The result is a very thin layer of silver coating the item, giving it an appearance of silver. Being a fine layer, it wears comparitively quickly and that’s why our Silver Plated pieces are so reasonably priced. These are not made for wearing constantly and are more fashion jewellery, not made to last forever.

So What is Sterling Silver Overlay?

To create our handcrafted pieces with a Sterling Silver Overlay the jewellery is first made with the jewellers metal, usually copper or brass. Then a thick layer of Sterling Silver is applied, coating the entire piece in a thick layer of Sterling Silver and then is polished up for shine.

Everything you can see and feel is genuine Sterling Silver, although the inside isn’t.

By creating pieces with a Silver Overlay we can provide quality pieces that are lovingly handmade and look amazing using less Silver than in solid Sterling Silver pieces and that’s reflected in the price.

It’s a way to offer beautiful pieces at a fraction of the cost.

Eventually the Silver Overlay will wear through and glimpses of the underlying metal will be visible, but if you care for your pieces they will last well.


Sterling Silver bangles and rings | Desiderate Jewellery

Why buy Sterling Silver Jewellery?

If you’re looking for a quality piece of jewellery to wear every day you’ll be better avoiding Silver Plated or Silver Overlay. You’ll be wanting something in a higher quality than a fashion piece that you’ll only wear occasionally. If you’re after something to wear often and want it to last then Sterling Silver pieces are worth every cent.


It lasts longer. Although Sterling Silver costs more than jewellery with a Silver Plating or Overlay it lasts.

It’s strong. 

Sterling Silver is much stronger and harder than pure silver.

It’s versatile.

Sterling Silver looks sensational worn alone but also fabulous worn alongside gold and rose gold pieces and the brightness set's off gemstones beautifully. You don't have to worry about matching it with your other pieces as it's a neutral colour.

Almost everyone can wear it.

Sterling Silver is hypoallergenic and very few people have sensitivities to it, unlike nickel which so many people have sensitivity to.

It’s easy to wear.

Being lightweight you can wear chunkier pieces and dangly earrings without feeling weighed down.

It's brighter.

Sterling Silver is lighter and brighter than gold or platinum, delivering maximum shine.

You'll notice that every product description at Desiderate Jewellery has detalis about the type of silver it's made from.

If you're ever unsure about a piece please contact us and we can help you.


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