Like 9ct Gold and 18ct Gold, the British Assay Office has a specific standard which must be met in order for Sterling Silver to be named as such; more than 92.5% of the metal must be pure silver. In America, Sterling Silver only needs to be 92.1% pure to achieve its status.
The term “Sterling Silver”, emerged in the 13th century and it is no coincidence that the British currency is also called Sterling. Interestingly, in French, the word “argent” also means both Silver and money.
In the UK it is a legal requirement for retailers to ensure that all silver items that weigh in excess of 7.78 grams have an official hallmark.