Although there has been a lot of talk and attention lately about the price of gold, real silver is also valuable – and many gold buyers also buy silver (and platinum). Just as with gold, there is a lot of fake silver too. So how do you tell if something is real silver?
Since your old scrap silver quite a bit on today’s silver hungry market it is very important to know how to tell real silver. Many people have silver lying around that they are not sure about because they do not know how to tell is something is real silver or some other metal. Fake silver can also be called silver plated among other things. There’s definitely a big difference between the two. The latter is basically worthless. So how can you tell if silver is real? The tips that follow will show you how to tell if it's real silver or fake silver.
1. Look for the "925" or "Sterling" Stamp
The markings for sterling silver can be stamped with the word “sterling” or with a number that denotes the purity of the silver, like “92.5”or “925”, for example. The number refers simply to the fact that the silver is 92.5% pure, which makes it sterling. The location of the hallmark stamp depends on the type of jewelry in question. On silver necklaces, silver bracelets, and silver anklets, you can typically find this hallmark on the clasp. On silver rings, the hallmark is almost always on the inside of the band. For flatware, look for a "sterling" stamp on the underside of the utensil.
2. Acid Testing for Silver Purity
Because there is so much fake silver on the market, an authentic-looking stamp does not always mean something is real silver. A nitric acid test may be needed to determine if your silver scrap is real or fake. You can find nitric acid silver on eBay for about $4 with free shipping. A search for "silver acid" would bring it up. Lightly scratch the item that you are looking to test, and then apply a drop or two of nitric acid. Items that are only silver plated will cause the liquid to turn green. A cloudy gray color will be seen in the liquid if the item is sterling silver.
3. Polish It
Using a light-colored, soft cloth, rub the item as if polishing it. Look at your cloth. If you see black marks on the cloth then the item is more than likely real. Real silver tarnishes and oxidizes when it is exposed to air. What you’re rubbing off is tarnish from that process.
4. Examine It
Look at your silver items closely, paying attention to coloring. A real silver item is usually less cool in tone and not as shiny as silver plated items. If there areas on the item that where the color appears to have flaked away, then the item probably isn’t real sterling silver.
5. Let Gold Kings Look at It
Letting Gold Kings look at something you think is silver is a good way find out if the jewelry is real. We will even tell you what it is worth. If there is not a Gold Kings location near you, we recommend that you diligently research the silver buyers in your area. Call around and ask what they pay per gram before you go in. If they won't give you a rate over the phone, avoid them. Then if they do quote a rate, make sure that is what you actually get when you go in with no bait and switch pricing. Just a few minutes of calling and could get you a lot more money when you are ready to sell something you think is real silver.