Metals 101- Is all Silver the same?

Silver with so much take, which one is real and which one is fake?

The selling diary continues, well…sort of. While I am taking a small break from selling I want to go into a topic that is way overdue. To be frank, I think this topic is not discussed enough. What methods can be used to tell the difference between fake and real jewelry?

We are living in a global economy, with sellers and consumers. It is easy to be overwhelmed with the option of what kind of silver you want to buy and how much you will be willing to invest, and to what is your budget.

What I learned from my Experience

From a previous post, I talked about my personal experience with fake jewelry. If you read it, you would know that I found out one of my silver charms was a fake, that was sold as genuine sterling (925) silver.

I learned about it by going to a gold and silver seller and while it was informative, it is a time-consuming process. We also need to consider how they test the jewelry.

Adinkra Symbol “Silver” Charm

I am no expert, at least not yet. I will talk about the tips and tricks to help you, figure out whether your silver is likely a fake. Now, we all nothing in life is 100% foolproof, knowing some of this info can help you so that you are less likely to be a victim of jewelry fraud.

What is Defined as Silver?

Before we go into this we need to know the reason why silver jewelry is made the way it is. Silver (or Ag in the periodic table of elements and yes, the engineer in me needed to add that) is shiny grayish white precious metal that is not just used on jewelry, but also for kitchen and home décor.

Look at it…

Silver at its purest form, also known as fine silver (999 or 99.9%) is too soft for jewelry making. This means it prone to scratches and tarnishing as its being manipulated into jewelry.

Sterling Silver jewelry is made with 92.5% silver and the rest of the approximate 7.5% is with an alloy to make it harder, usually copper. Thus, why most silver sterling silver jewelry has the .925 label printed on it. That is one of the main points you should be looking for when buying jewelry. Jewelry with purity less than 92.5 is not considered sterling silver by U.S standards.

 and Know your Standards!

The reason, I mention in terms of U.S standards is because other countries may sell jewelry with lower purity (90% or 80%) and market it due to the different standards.

This is where things can become complicated, some jewelers will add more alloy metals. In some cases, they use metals like nickel, which can give the appearance of silver but with lower purity. It’s cheaper to make and jewelers can make a larger profit.

Polish it!

Another way of telling is simple. Take a clean, smooth cotton cloth. Take your jewelry and gently rub jewelry against the cloth. If there is a black strike on the cloth, then your silver is real, if not is likely a fake.

This is because when silver in contact with air it oxidizes, it tarnishes as you polish it, which leaves the black marks on the cloth. You can also do bleach test since bleach is an oxidizing agent, it will cause the jewelry to tarnish.

Check it!

Of course, the last one would be going to a gold seller and they can do an acid test. You can also purchase a kit and do it in your home. But you risk leaving stains in your jewelry if it’s not real silver.

Heck, even smell it!

Another, effortless way of inspecting your jewelry is by smelling it. Yes, you read that right. Smell it.

This is an especially a good method for inspecting large statement pieces. If you notice a metallic smell, even if it’s a faint smell it’s likely a metal like nickel. The piece should not have a smell if it is sterling silver.

Now tell me what you think? Are there any methods that you recommend? Leave your questions and comment below!

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