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In the late 12th century, King Henry II employed a group of Eastern European silversmiths known for the consistent quality of their silver to set a new standard for coins made at their mint. Their metal became known as "easterling silver," as its makers had come to England from the East. Over time, this name was shortened to "sterling silver." The standard they set was 92.5% pure silver, alloyed with other metals.
That same specification for sterling silver (92.5% pure silver) remains in effect today. The remainder of the alloy is typically copper, which is added for its hardness. Sterling silver jewelry sold in the United States should be stamped ".925" or "sterling" to indicate the metal content.
100% .925 Sterling Silver