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Sterling silver has to be a minimum of 92.5% silver (hence the common reference to ‘925 Sterling Silver’) and then the rest can be made up of another metal, usually copper. The reason for this is that like gold pure silver is far too soft and would not last on hard wearing things such as rings.

Because of its great value and standard of purity sterling silver needed to be regulated and so in England a law was passed by King Edward I requiring all silver to be verified and hallmarked before sale. This meant that all sterling silver sold in England had to be verified and hallmarked to prove its purity, the first company to do this was Royally Charted by the King in 1327 and is the same one No.47 London uses to hallmark all their jewellery today, the Goldsmith’s Company Assay Office.