Header Graphic
Silver Guide
What is the Difference

What is the diferrence between German/Nickel Silver and Sterling Silver?


Nickel Silver (commonly called German Silver) is the generic name for any of a range of non-precious bright silvery-grey metal alloys, composed of copper, nickel and zinc. Despite its name it contains no real silver.

It gets its name because its color matches that of silver reasonably, and because it was used as a low status substitute for silver in the 19th century.

Nickel Silver is widely used for the commercial production of industrial components, housewares, flatware and cutlery and jewelry.

Many common names for Nickel Silver include, German Silver, Alpacca Silver, Austrian Silver, Brazilian Silver and New Silver.


Sterling Silver is actual Silver and not a non-precious metal substitute. The official definition for Sterling Silver refers to silver that is 92.5 percent pure with 7.5 percent copper. Pure Silver is very soft and cannot be used for jewelry, watches and buckles, so therefore must be mixed with an alloy for durability. The copper in the alloy is what causes tarnishing. A protective coating may be added to prevent tarnish.

Sterling Silver is made into beautiful jewelry ranging from rings, to necklaces to watches and earrings and belt buckles. A Sterling Silver piece makes a beautiful gift that will be cherished a lifetime.

The cost is more than the non-precious German/Nickel Silver, but Sterling Silver is the precious metal – Silver!


For fastest service and answers to your questions or comments, please contact us here.

Our friendly (and adorable) Customer Service Representative will respond quick as a bunny.


PayPal Acceptance Mark

Rustic Ranch Tack, Buckeye, Arizona.

Rustic Ranch Tack, All Rights Reserved

No part of this website or any of its contents may be reproduced, copied, modified or adapted, without the prior written consent of Rustic Ranch Tack.

You may share this website by using any of the share icons at the bottom of each page (Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook).

Commercial use and distribution of the contents of the website is not allowed without express and prior written consent of Rustic Ranch Tack.