Silver is naturally occurring in the earth and in its purest form it is 99.9%. Sterling silver is an alloy of silver which is 92.5% silver and the remaining 7.5% is copper. The standard for sterling silver in the United States is 92.5% or 925. Combining a small amount of copper with silver the hardness increases and it is more suitable for jewelry. Although sterling silver is more durable than gold it melts at a lower temperature than gold.
The sterling alloy originated in continental Europe and was being used for commerce as early as the 12th century in the area that is now northern Germany.
Dating back hundreds of years, silver gifts have been given to brides and grooms. Folklore states that it is good luck if the first wedding gift received is silver.