Items made of precious metals like gold and silver are always in high demand. These precious metals are used more than you probably realize, from jewelry and coins to everyday household items.

If you need quick cash, selling gold or silver items can earn you a pretty penny. However, while most people can quickly identify authentic gold items, they don’t always understand the difference between the value of pure silver and sterling silver items.

If you’re wondering what genuine sterling silver is, how it’s used, and whether it can be pawned or sold at your local pawn shop, this article is for you.

Gold is not the only precious metal pawn shops will buy

There are always certain items that pawn shop owners love to have in their stores, and items made from any precious metal are a perfect example.

While gold and platinum remain the world’s two most valuable and highly sought-after precious metals, don’t overlook silver’s classic beauty. Silver is the most affordable of the precious metals, and it features a unique shine and luster that is timeless and subtle. Pawn shop owners will always look for silver jewelry pieces, coin silver, and silverware to add to their inventory.

Sterling silver popularity

For hundreds of years, people have closely associated silver with luxury. While sterling silver is most often used in jewelry, it’s usually combined with a metal alloy like copper to enhance its durability. The result, known as sterling silver, contains 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper. It is often marked with a .925 designation and referred to as 925 sterling silver.

Modern jewelry designers often work with sterling silver because it perfectly combines beauty and durability. It’s easy to mold and shape, making it well-suited to create new jewelry styles constantly. It’s also simple to clean and maintain, and unlike other base metals, sterling silver does not irritate sensiti skin, making it just about perfect for anyone to wear.

Pure silver, sterling, or silver-plated items

Pure silver, or fine silver, is 99.9% elemental silver. It is rarely used for jewelry because it is too soft and malleable.

Silver-plated items include only a very thin silver layer bonded to another metal, such as copper, brass, or nickel. If your silver necklace is marked with “EP,” “EPNS,” or “Silver on copper,” then your item is not sterling and is probably silver-plated.

Authentic sterling silver items are much more valuable and durable, while silver-plated jewelry can be easily scratched or tarnished.

When someone mentions “real silver,” they are typically talking about 925 sterling silver. In fact, 925 sterling silver is as close to pure silver as possible. It is easy to wear, typically hypoallergenic, and easy to repair. Better yet, it makes your sterling silver jewelry easy to resell.

Sterling jewelry and more items that may be made from sterling

While most people probably only think of genuine sterling silver being used in silver jewelry or silverware, its uses are vast. During the Victorian period, many homes featured intricate fine silver tableware, including servers, tea sets, trays, napkin rings, pitchers, candelabra, and elaborate centerpieces.

In more modern times, sterling silver expanded to the business world, where it was used in paper clips, letter openers, cigarette cases, and business card boxes. For personal items, sterling silver is often found in decorative shoehorns, manicure sets, ladies’ hair clips, and perfume bottles. Did you also know that sterling silver can be found in many surgical and medical instruments, and even brass wind instruments, including flutes and saxophones?

How to prepare your silver for pawn

If you plan to pawn your sterling silver items, you shouldn’t have to do much to clean them up. Silver is generally non-reactive to water and oxygen, but prolonged exposure to sunlight, humidity, or moisture can tarnish it.

If you notice a significant tarnish on your sterling silver items, don’t panic or run to buy an abrasive cleaner. You can use warm water, mild dish soap, and a soft towel to remove most grime easily. Dry everything thoroughly, being careful not to leave water streaks behind! Be gentle when you clean to preserve any special marks and prevent delicate items like fork tines from being bent.

If you can, do a little bit of research before you visit your local pawn shop. You can check current market prices online and weigh your silver items individually before bringing them to the pawn shop. Knowing these in advance can help you estimate the value of your goods before you visit the shop. Don’t be afraid to compare offers from several providers, if possible, to ensure you get the best deal for your silver goods.  At Gene’s, you can rest assured our experts will thoroughly review and appraise your items for free and ensure you get the highest value for your sterling silver jewelry by offering the best prices. We make the process simple.

Pawn or sell?

The decision of whether to pawn or sell is personal. It depends on whether you want to keep your items.

If you want your items back, pawning is the best option.

The most significant advantage of pawning your items with a local pawn shop is getting money on the spot. It’s easy! Furthermore, making your payments on time means you’ll get your items back when the loan is repaid in full. You can even pawn the same items for additional money when needed!

If you want to declutter, selling is the better choice. You can save time and get quick cash by selling your precious items at a pawn shop. And you will work with local experts to assess the value of your items with no obligation. If you don’t like the offer, you can walk away. No questions asked.

If you want to pawn or sell your sterling silver jewelry, Gene’s Jewelry & Pawn is ready to help!  For over 30 years, we have provided our clients with the high level of customer service they deserve. Visit one of our convenient locations in North Charleston, Moncks Corner, or Goose Creek, SC, today to see how we can help you. You can also visit us online for a free estimate for your items or browse our outstanding selection of new arrivals from the comfort of your sofa!