Does Sterling Silver Contain Nickel?

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Sterling silver usually does not contain nickel. But it's not impossible for a sterling silver alloy containing nickel to be produced. Sterling silver used in jewelry and flatware is made from silver and copper. Another less common alloy, called Argentium, incorporates 1 percent of a different base metal, but not copper. The alloy known as "nickel silver," or alpacca, does not actually contain any silver at all. Identification Sterling silver is an alloy of silver. Generally sterling silver is 92.5 percent pure, and this level serves as a minimum silver content for the application of the term "sterling." Alloys between 92.5 and 99.9 percent (which is called "fine" silver) would also be classified as sterling. The 7.5 percent of sterling that is not silver is almost always copper, but other base metals can be used. Other Alloys Copper is the most common base metal alloyed with silver because it is inexpensive. The purpose of alloying silver is to increase its hardness. But, because ... more
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