Silver, just like gold and platinum, is a popular metal. In India, many people invest in gold and silver. Silver is a precious metal that is found in abundance and is used to make jewellery, flatware, and other durable items. It is a soft metal, and if you take proper care of your silver jewellery or flatware, it will last long. Whether you buy a pair of silver earrings or a silver ring made with sterling silver and copper, as long as you take good care of it, it will last a lifetime. But you must check whether the silver jewellery or flatware you purchased is authentic or not. If you are looking for some ways to check whether the silver you have purchased is real, read this article. We have listed down top 6 ways to test silver.
How to Check Whether Silver is Real or Not
Here are some simple tests that you can conduct to find out whether the silver jewellery, silver coins, or silver utensils that you own are made of real silver or not.
1. Check the Label First
One of the best and easiest ways to find out whether the silver jewellery you own is real or fake is by checking the label on the jewellery. If it has a small inscription on it which says ‘ster’ or ‘sterling’, it means that the silver in the item is 92.5% or close to pure silver. Another symbol to look out for is ‘IS’ which means that it is international silver or silver plated. Whenever silver items are sold internationally or domestically, there is a hallmark trade stamp which authenticates the metal. Before you purchase a silver item from a shop, always look for a standard stamp of ‘sterling’. International sellers will have stamps of 800, 900, or 925 which indicates the quantity of silver in the item. If it has around 90-80% silver, then it is often called as ‘coin silver’. Apart from checking stamps, you can do one or two more tests once you bring the item home if you are uncertain about its originality.
2. Ice Cube Test
Another easy method to check whether the silver is pure or not is by using ice cubes. This method is ideal for testing silver coins and other silver items with flat surfaces. Place an ice cube on a silver coin or flatware. If the ice cube melts quickly, then the metal you own is real. Silver has the highest thermal conductivity and when you place an ice cube on silver, it will melt at a faster rate. Although it melts at room temperature too, it will melt faster when placed on a silver coin or flatware.
3. Bleach Test
Bleach can also be used to check the authenticity of the silver metal. Just place a drop of bleach on the silver item. If it tarnishes after coming in contact with oxidising chemicals like bleach then it is real silver. Real silver will turn black when exposed to bleach.
4. Weight Test
Silver is denser than most metals. The weight of the metal will have a specific diameter and thickness. If the silver weighs less, it might be made of light-weight silver alloys rather than sterling silver. If it weighs more, then it could be made of lead plated with silver. Pure silver is usually cooler than silver-plated items and is shinier.
5. Magnet Test
Another cool way to test if the silver you have purchased is real or fake is by using magnets. If you have magnets lying around in your house, you can use it to check the authenticity of silver. Silver is paramagnetic and only exhibits weak reactions to a magnet. Use a strong magnet such as a rare earth magnet created from neodymium. Bring the magnet close to the silver item you want to check and see if it sticks strongly to the magnet. If it does then it’s not real silver.
If you are also testing silver bars at home, a sliding test with magnets can be used to find out if it is real silver. You can conduct the test by angling the silver bar at a 45-degree angle and slide the magnet down the surface of the bar. The magnet should slide down slowly. At first, this may seem inaccurate, but silver is paramagnetic which means that it generates electric eddy currents. This means that the silver acts as an electromagnet which creates a braking effect on the slow descent of the magnet.
6. Ring Test
A ring test is a very common and easy test to perform. Pure silver makes a strong ringing sound when rubbed against each other so one of the best ways to identify the purity of silver is by rubbing them with another metal or another silver item. If you have a coin and you drop it on a flat surface, it should make a sound like a ringing bell. If it makes a dull sound, it has been most likely mixed with other elements or metals.
Below are some common questions around silver that will help address any queries you have regarding its authenticity. Silver is one metal that is believed to be helpful in improving skin disorders, eye infections and other diseases, therefore making it highly beneficial to wear as jewellery.
1. Does Silver Always Have a Stamp Mark?
In most countries, precious metals such as silver or gold must always have a quality stamp to mark its authenticity. The markings for a silver sterling are usually done with a ‘sterling’ or a ‘ster’ mark to indicate the presence of 92.5% silver or close to pure silver. One of the best examples we can give you is that if a stamp says ‘S925’ it means that it is sterling silver. Pure silver is soft and can be easily damaged, hence it is often mixed with copper to keep it stable.
2. What Does 935 Mean on a Silver Ring?
If silver jewellery such as a ring has a 935 mark on it, it means that it has a higher percentage of silver in the item. For example, if the silver ring is marked as 935 it means if you consider the total presence of metal as 1000, then 935 is pure silver and the rest is copper. Pure silver is extremely soft and easily breakable. Hence it must be mixed with another metal to hold stable.
3. What Does 835 Mean on Silver?
If any piece of silver jewellery has 835, it means that it is sterling silver which has 835 parts silver in it. Ideally, you should look for older and more polished silver of around 925 or 935 as this is better quality silver. A lot of international sellers have this mark on most of the silver items sold.
Once you understand the basics, it is very simple to determine whether silver is real or fake, right at your home. Before you purchase it from the market, always make sure you check for the label of authenticity which says ‘sterling’ silver. Always add great quality jewellery to your collection so that they can last long.