Sterling silver, also known as .925 silver, is an alloy consisting of 92.5 percent pure silver and 7.5 percent other metals. It is commonly used in jewelry, kitchen utensils, decorative trays and goblets.
Pure silver is too soft for use in everyday objects, so additional metals are used to help strengthen it. Copper is the most common metal used to help strengthen the silver, but it is prone to oxidation. Because of the copper content, sterling silver tarnishes more easily than pure silver. Tarnish is easily removed with tarnish remover, but care should be taken with antique pieces so as to not degrade their delicate patterns.