Knowing the difference between silver plated items and sterling items can be very helpful when shopping to complete a flatware set or adding a special piece of hollow ware to your collection. Shown here are examples of both sterling (marked 925 or sterling) and silver plate spoons. There are many companies that made sterling and silver plates items, it is best to get a good reference book from your local library before you start collecting and have some knowledge. You can learn about American sterling hallmarks from many sources. Some wonderful silver pieces are silver plated. There is a price difference between sterling and silver plate.