How Many Different Types of Silver Can I Buy?

Ever wanted to know how many different types of silver you can buy? Get up-to-date information and reliable answers to your bullion and precious metals related questions here at ModernCoinMart's Complete Bullion Resource Center.

Several different types of silver can be purchased by both investors and collectors alike. The types of silver can be categorized into two main groups: those used in jewelry making and those used for investment and collecting purposes.

Types of Silver Used for Investment Purposes:

  • Silver Coins: These are some of the most common forms of physical silver. Issued by sovereign mints, silver coins are legal tender and in most cases carry a face value. Many historic silver coins are available, with some of the most common being the famous Morgan and Peace Silver dollars, in addition to other vintage U.S. coins. More recent bullion programs like the American Silver Eagle, Australian Silver Kookaburra, Chinese Silver Panda, and Canadian Silver Maple also exist. These coins are struck primarily for their precious metal content.
  • Silver Rounds: These are unmonetized silver issues that are like coins but aren’t issued by a sovereign mint and therefore are not legal tender. Most rounds carry a design and typically have some inscription on them. Silver rounds are often attractive and tend to be consistent in weight and fineness, making it easier to keep track of how much actual silver you have.
  • Silver Bars: These often have the lowest premium and may have stamps or identifying marks from the mint that created them. Generally speaking, the larger the bar, coin, or round, the lower the premium. However, larger bars, coins, and rounds can be harder to move because of their high value. 

Types of Silver Used in Jewelry Making:

  • Fine Silver: This is considered one of the purest forms of silver, with 99.9% pure silver content. It is hypoallergenic and highly resistant to tarnishing. However, it is a soft material that is easily scratched and dented and is often more expensive than other types of silver.
  • Sterling Silver: This is the most popular type of silver used in jewelry making. It comprises 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper, making it harder and more durable than fine silver. It is also hypoallergenic but more likely to tarnish over time than fine silver.
  • European Silver: This term refers to the various types of silver used to make jewelry within Europe. European silver alloys can vary widely in terms of purity, color, and durability. Some examples of the range of European silver are French silver which is 95% or 80% silver, and Dutch silver, which is 83.5% or 80% silver.
  • Britannia Silver: This is an alloy of silver containing 95.8% pure silver and 4.2% copper. It is slightly softer than sterling silver.
  • Argentium Silver: This is an alloy of silver containing 93.5% pure silver and germanium. It has increased tarnish resistance and a whiter finish, similar to fine silver. It also has great durability and strength.

You should note that metals that look silver are only sometimes silver. Some non-precious metal alloys that look like silver are characterized as types of silver in the jewelry industry, even though they contain no actual silver content and do not bear a quality stamp.

In summary, the different types of silver that can be purchased include fine silver, sterling silver, European silver, Britannia silver, Argentium silver, silver coins, silver rounds, and silver bars. The choice of silver will depend on its intended use, whether for jewelry making or investment and collecting purposes.

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