Thursday, December 22, 2011

Sterling vs. Silver Filled Wire

Silver-filled wire is similar in construction to gold-filled. It has a layer of .925 sterling silver bonded to a white brass core consisting of a copper and zinc alloy. The sterling silver layer is 1.20th or 5% of the material. It is a great low cost alternative to sterling and can be soldered and oxidized just like sterling.

That's the official buzz is but I wanted to check it out myself so I made two Swarovski pearl rings using 24ga wire for the coil and 20 ga wire for the core. The one on the left is made with sterling silver wire and the other is silver filled. Can you tell the difference? No?  Neither can I and I took a good close look thru my optivsors. They both took a patina like pro's, held up to 4 hours in the tumbler no worse for the wear, and came out all bright and shiney, just like I like my silver.

But my wallet sure noticed the difference. Silver filled wire is running approx 30% the cost of sterling. Thirty percent! Wow, I feel like I just traveled back in time when I was buying sterling for 30 cents a gram. Doing the happy dance!!!!

Tune in next time when I do a comparison of silver filled vs, sterling on a soldering project. Oh, and Happy Holidays to you and yours!!!!