* Sterling Silver is .925 (92 1/2%) fine or pure silver alloyed with .075 (7.5%) copper. Only silver of this quality may be labeled "Sterling Silver".

* By contrast, Coin silver is only 90% fine while "Commercial silver is 99.9% fine

* Sheffield Silver Plate is similar to Gold Filled in that it requires a bonding process. Silver is bonded to copper to form the material which is then formed into flatware, etc..

* Nickel Silver is a composition of nickel, copper and zinc - contains NO silver.

* To test for silver, cut a deep notch in the material and apply nitric acid. If the piece is just plated, a green color appears. If it is Sterling Silver, a cloudy cream color appears and if dark or brackish, it is coin silver.