How To Tell If Silver Is Real? Tests To Identify The Purity | Kidadl


How To Tell If Silver Is Real? Tests To Identify The Purity

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Have you ever wondered if the silver jewelry you have or are wearing is real (sterling silver) or fake?

Like platinum and gold, silver is used by households worldwide as it is a famous and precious metal. Silver is a soft metal that is largely used for making silver jewelry and other sturdy items just like any other metal such as gold, platinum, and copper.

It is cheaper than gold or platinum but costly compared to copper, and therefore many people can afford to buy sterling silver objects and jewelry. People consider buying silver items as an investment just like buying gold, platinum, or copper objects because its value may appreciate in relation to the time the metal was made, how much authentic silver content it has, and what kind of quality of silver that the silver object contains.

Silver captivates people's attention by the way it gleams. If you want to buy any silver jewelry, you must have some common knowledge on identifying if the piece of silver object you are purchasing is real silver or fake silver. 

Silver is a soft, malleable, and ductile metal that may be polished to a high gloss. While it lacks the durability of gold or copper, it has a wide range of uses, primarily when alloyed with other metals like gold or copper to make it more durable.

If you do not want to melt silver to see if it is pure or not, then there are various ways to check the authenticity of a real silver item. There are small markings or stamps on any silver product. Genuine silver is marked with .925 (sterling silver), 900, or 800. Jewelry pieces made from pure silver will be marked with .925 and with this marking, you can detect the authenticity of the silver you are buying.

Besides these markings, there are a variety of tests to test for real silver or fake silver. You can check the label first but there are also ice cube tests, bleach tests, weight tests, and a magnet test that could help you know the purity and quality of the silver you are thinking of purchasing.

After you get familiar with the weak magnetic pull of silver, why not check out the answers to how to grow lima beans and how to raise a chick?

Ways To Test If Silver Is Real Or Not

When you are purchasing silver jewelry from an esteemed or even a non-esteemed silver store, identifying real or pure silver is a major question. There are times when the person selling the silver jewelry can persuade you that the item is authentic while selling, but sometimes it might turn out to be fake silver.

Checking the label: Always make sure to look for these two inscriptions on the silver jewelry: 'ster' or 'sterling silver'. If the jewelry has a small inscription on it that mentions 'ster' or 'sterling', it means that there is a 92.5% silver content in that item which is close to pure silver. Keep that in mind while purchasing jewelry.

International Silver (IS) is also popularly known as silver-plated. This kind of object is usually not made purely of silver metal but is plated or coated with silver and thus, is called silver plated. When the silver object is sold internationally or domestically, this hallmark trade stamp authenticates the metal. 800, 900, or 925 are the stamps used by international sellers, demonstrating the amount of silver an item contains. Having 80-90% of silver is often called coin silver. This is one of the major things one must always keep in their mind if they want to purchase or invest in silver with authenticity, be it coin silver or jewelry.

Striking two coins: If striking two silver coins together produces an excellent ringing sound, the silver is authentic. If a dull sound comes out from striking two silver coins, then the silver is fake. Yes, it's as simple as that!

Smell test: People who have a strong sense of smell can quickly determine whether silver is sterling silver or not. Sterling silver is odorless, so if you smell anything metallic while sniffing your silver item then it is fake. If you do not sense any smell from the silvered object then it is real silver. This is not a fool-proof method, however, as not everyone has as good a sense of smell as is needed here.

Ring test: In the ring test, if you have a silver coin that you need to check to find out whether the silver coin is real or fake then you can drop the silver coin from six inches above a table or any flat surface. After striking on a flat surface, if the coin creates a sound like a ringing bell, then the coin is a pure silver coin. If the coin delivers a dull sound after hitting the ground, then it is not real silver and is mixed with other elements and metals.

Magnet test: Silver is paramagnetic and only displays weak reactions to magnets. If you are using strong magnets, especially a rare earth magnet built from neodymium, and the item responds strongly to the magnet, then the silver item you checked is not real. If the silver item does not react to a strong magnet, then it is real silver.

Nitric acid test: To check whether the silver is real or plated, apply a few drops of nitric acid on a small part of the silver item, in a discreet area. If the area that has been exposed to a drop of acid turns creamy white, then it is real silver. If the area turns green, then the item is silver plated or fake; this is called the nitric acid test.

Weight test: Silver is denser than most other metals. If the weight of the silver is less than expected, then the item might be made of light-weighted silver alloys instead of sterling silver. If the item weighs more than expected, then the item could be made of lead plated with silver.

Tell silver from aluminum: To tell silver apart from aluminum, you need a cotton bud and ordinary bleach which is available in most homes. With the help of a cotton bud, put a drop of bleach on the silvery object that you want to conduct your experiment on. Wait patiently for a few seconds. After some time, you will notice the bleach turns silver to grey and then to dark grey, and later the silver turns almost black. This kind of reaction happens on a silvery object, but the bleach does not affect it if it is aluminum.

Polish test: As time passes by, silver loses its shine if not polished and taken care of. To determine whether the silver is real silver or not, you can take out a small, clean, soft white piece of cloth and rub the silver item. If there is no residue on your cloth, then the silvered item you have is fake silver. Polishing silver items is a very good indicator of their authenticity.

Flake test: This test helps you identify whether the silver is real or whether it is just silver plated. To do this test, try scratching the silver item you have, or you are about to purchase with the fingernails. If there is flaking and it reveals a base with the different metal underneath, then the item you have, or you were about to purchase, is fake silver.

Keep reading for more insights!

How To Test Silver With Ice

Silver has the highest thermal conductivity among precious metals.

For testing silver with ice, we can conduct what is called an ice test. For conducting an ice test on silver, place an ice cube on a silver coin, bar, or any silver flatware object that you want to conduct your ice cube test on.

If the piece of ice cube begins to melt immediately, then the metal you have is made of real silver. If it doesn't, it is fake silver. Though ice melts at room temperature too, ice cubes will melt faster when placed on silver flatware or silver objects. This is known as the ice test or ice cube test.

The bleach test is a popular way of testing the purity of the silver.

How To Test Silver With Bleach

Perhaps one of the most common tests for checking the authenticity of silver is the bleach test.

To identify the quality of silver using bleach, put a drop of bleach on the silver item you want to test. If it rapidly tarnishes and turns black, then the silver is real. Silver reacts strongly and quickly when it is exposed to powerful oxidizing agents such as common bleach.

Bear in mind that the testing of silver with bleach will not show any reaction if the item is silver-plated. Therefore, this test might not help you to identify pure silver and fake silver with absolute certainty.

How To Test Silver With Vinegar

Another one of the most commonly conducted tests (perhaps because of the easy availability of the required material) is testing silver with vinegar.

Acids react to the least precious metals. For testing metals such as sterling silver with acids such as vinegar, make a tiny scratch where it is not visible and pour a tiny drop of vinegar on the scratch. You can even use ordinary white vinegar available from your kitchen.

Observe the scratch patiently. If the spot changes color then the silver is not real, and if the spot doesn't change color then the silver is real.

There you go! You're all set for a shopping trip!

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for how to tell if silver is real? Then why not take a look at how to make a waterfall? Or, how to hold a pencil?

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