Sterling Silver Candlesticks vs. Silverplated: What’s the Difference?

When it comes to selecting candlesticks for your home, understanding the differences between sterling silver candlesticks and silverplate candlesticks is essential. Both options have their own unique qualities, but they vary significantly in terms of quality, durability, and price.

What Are Sterling Silver Candlesticks?

Sterling silver candlesticks are made from an alloy that contains 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% other metals, usually copper. This combination gives sterling silver its durability and beautiful luster. The hallmark “925” is often stamped on sterling silver items to indicate their silver content.

Advantages of Sterling Silver Candlesticks:

  1. Quality and Purity: Sterling silver candlesticks are of high quality due to their substantial silver content. They possess a brilliant shine and elegant appearance that enhances any decor.
  2. Durability: Sterling silver is highly durable and resistant to damage, making it ideal for heirloom pieces that can be passed down through generations.
  3. Value: Because of their high silver content, sterling silver candlesticks hold intrinsic value and can appreciate over time.
  4. Craftsmanship: Sterling silver allows for intricate designs and fine details, often seen in artisanal pieces that showcase exceptional craftsmanship.

What Are Silverplate Candlesticks?

Silverplate candlesticks, on the other hand, are made by coating a base metal (usually brass, copper, or nickel) with a thin layer of pure silver. This process gives the appearance of solid silver without the associated cost.

Advantages of Silverplate Candlesticks:

  1. Affordability: Silverplate candlesticks are significantly less expensive than sterling silver candlesticks, making them accessible for those on a budget.
  2. Appearance: Initially, silverplate candlesticks can look very similar to sterling silver, providing an elegant look at a fraction of the price.
  3. Versatility: Because of their lower cost, silverplate candlesticks are ideal for everyday use or for occasions where you might not want to risk damaging a more expensive piece.

Comparing Quality and Durability

Sterling Silver Candlesticks:

  • Longevity: Sterling silver candlesticks are known for their long lifespan. With proper care, they can last for centuries without losing their beauty.
  • Wear and Tear: Sterling silver is resistant to tarnish and corrosion, although it can develop a patina over time, which many people find attractive.
  • Maintenance: Regular polishing and cleaning are required to maintain the shine of sterling silver, but it is a relatively straightforward process.

Silverplate Candlesticks:

  • Longevity: The lifespan of silverplate candlesticks is shorter compared to sterling silver. The silver layer can wear off over time, exposing the base metal.
  • Wear and Tear: Silverplate is more prone to scratches and tarnish. Once the silver layer wears away, it cannot be restored without re-plating.
  • Maintenance: Silverplate requires careful cleaning to avoid damaging the thin silver layer. Harsh chemicals and abrasive materials should be avoided.

Comparing Price

Sterling Silver Candlesticks:

  • Initial Cost: Sterling silver candlesticks are a significant investment due to the high cost of silver.
  • Long-term Value: The value of sterling silver can appreciate over time, making these candlesticks a worthwhile investment for collectors.

Silverplate Candlesticks:

  • Initial Cost: Silverplate candlesticks are much more affordable, making them an attractive option for those looking for a budget-friendly alternative.
  • Long-term Value: Silverplate does not have the same long-term value as sterling silver. Over time, as the silver layer wears off, the candlestick's value decreases.

When choosing between sterling silver candlesticks and silverplate candlesticks, consider your budget, the intended use, and your preference for quality and durability. Sterling silver candlesticks offer unmatched quality, durability, and long-term value, making them ideal for special occasions and heirloom pieces. On the other hand, silverplate candlesticks provide an elegant and affordable option for everyday use or less formal settings.

Understanding these differences will help you select the perfect candlesticks that meet your needs and enhance the beauty of your home. Whether you opt for the timeless elegance of sterling silver or the practicality of silverplate, both choices add a touch of sophistication and charm to any setting.