The silver content of an item is based on a scale of zero to 1,000. The 800 means 80 percent silver and 20 percent some other metal or alloy, by weight.
Silver is a soft metal, difficult to work in its purest form. Other metals, usually copper, are added to provide durability. The items produced are stamped with the amount of silver in them. Bullion bars are made with 999 silver, while jewelry and silverware are typically sterling silver, which is 925. Coin silver is usually considered to be 900 silver, but historically the amount of silver in coins has varied and each item should be tested.