Sterling Silver Quality and Lead-Safe Policy

Sterling Silver is 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper. 99.9% silver is called "Fine silver." Sterling components and jewelry made in the USA are often stamped "Sterling." Goods made for international trade are often marked "925" indicating the 92.5% fineness. "Coin" silver is used in some countries and could be marked "900" or "800" depending on fineness.

Other markings may be seen that are less clear. "Mexican Silver", "German Silver," "Indian Silver," "Montana Silver," or simply "silver" do not guarantee any silver content. "German Silver" is another name for the alloy of Copper, Nickel and Zinc usually called Nickel Silver. Despite the name, Nickel Silver contains no silver.

In many countries, precious metal must be stamped with a quality mark such as "925" for sterling. Some countries require jewelry of precious metal be submitted to a governmental assay office for destructive testing before being marked and sold.

In the USA, The National Gold and Silver Marketing Act does NOT require precious metals to be marked with quality. However, if a quality mark is used, the mark must be accompanied by a manufacturer's hallmark that is a registered trademark. If there is ever a question about the precious content of a piece of jewelry the manufacturer can be traced using the registered hallmark stamped on the piece. This accountability is particularly important in gold jewelry. A devious manufacturer could mark a piece 18Kt when, in fact, it was 10Kt and worth 1/3 less on gold content alone.

Sterling Silver is very easy to test. Silver plated brass, Nickel Silver or low quality silver alloys will turn green when a drop of Nitric acid is applied. Sterling will turn a creamy color. When testing suspect goods a small file can be used to cut through any plating or lacquer in an unobtrusive part of the item.

For many reasons, not all silver jewelry is marked. Registering a trademark costs over $1000. The maker may not spend the money to have a legal hallmark. Small time artists and Native American silversmiths rarely trademark their work. The sizes or designs of some pieces do not lend themselves to quality marking. Findings and components are often not quality stamped leaving the assembler the choice of attaching a mark, perhaps on a chain tab, to the finished piece.

Many individual artists will stamp a quality mark along with their name or initials. While this satisfies the accountability at the heart of the US stamping act, it is not considered legal.

In summary:
1) US Law does not require precious metal to be marked with a quality stamp.
2) Some European countries DO require marking. Many tourists in the US will question goods sold without quality markings.
3) US law requires a maker's mark in the form of a hallmark or registered trademark in addition to the quality mark if the goods are quality marked.



Federal Trade Commission, National Gold and Silver Marketing Act
15 USC 297

Russ Nobbs, Owner-Rings & Things

Jeweler's Vigilance Committee

Manufacturing Jewelers and Silversmiths of America

More information on Electroplating can be read here:

*note: all our items are described as per Manufacture specs.

Gold-plated, Silver-plated and Nickel-plated
~our items have an industry standard of .15 to .25 mils thickness of gold, silver or nickel which is plated to the surface of the base metal, which is usually brass or nickel.

Lead-safe Policy and Resources

In order to comply with current law, Many Horses Jewelry Supply and their suppliers designates products lead-safe that meet or exceed current state, federal and/or international laws regarding lead content in adult jewelry.

In addition to normal quality control procedures and a routine lead-testing process, Many Horses Jewelry Supply works closely with suppliers and testing agencies to ensure our products meet the requirements listed by California's Lead-Containing Jewelry Law, the most stringent law in the United States regarding lead content in adult jewelry, the labeling requirements of California's Proposition 65 and the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA).

It is recommended that jewelry-making products not be used for items made for infants, toddlers, or other young children, who may be more likely to place these items in their mouths, and may present a choking hazard. Please be aware we do not sell to, or promote the sale of any product to or for, any child under the age of 15.

California Lead-Containing Jewelry Law 

Proposition 65 - California 

Minnesota Lead Poisoning Prevention Laws and Rules 

Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) 

All products sold by Many Horses Jewelry Supply are not intended for use by children under the age of 15.


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