There are a number of ways that you can tell if silver is real. This article looks at several of them. 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 your silver is real?
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.
Because there is so much fake silver on the market, an authentic-looking stamp does not always mean the item is real silver real. An 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.
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.
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.
Letting Gold Kings look at your 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 gold 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 your silver.