Global How to distinguish silver from other metals

How to distinguish silver from other metals


Some­times jew­el­ry made from low-grade alloys is sold under the guise of sil­ver or white gold items. It is very dif­fi­cult for a non-spe­cial­ist to dis­tin­guish them with the naked eye. Shim­mer­ing radi­ance, cold tones, sil­very-white col­or — there are no obvi­ous dif­fer­ences in appear­ance. What you need to pay spe­cial atten­tion to and how to under­stand that this is real­ly white gold and sil­ver — read in this arti­cle.

Checking silver for authenticity

Checking silver for authenticity

Sil­ver is one of the first five met­als ever dis­cov­ered. It was iden­ti­fied as ear­ly as 7,000 years ago, but it took peo­ple the next 2,000 years to learn how to sep­a­rate this met­al from the com­pounds with which it occurs. Because of the rar­i­ty of sil­ver, the ancient Egyp­tians val­ued it more than gold! Only a few cen­turies lat­er, new deposits were dis­cov­ered in var­i­ous parts of the world.
Since ancient times, sil­ver has been used not only to cre­ate jew­el­ry, but also to make coins and cut­lery. This ore has the high­est light reflec­tiv­i­ty, so it has a unique glow. Jew­el­ers say it is the whitest of the pre­cious met­als. How­ev­er, pure sil­ver is very soft, so var­i­ous alloys are added to it for strength and dura­bil­i­ty. But in order to know how to cor­rect­ly dis­tin­guish real sil­ver, you need to con­sid­er that it must be at least 92.5% of the alloy in the jew­el­ry.

One way to tell sil­ver from an alloy with cop­per or iron is to wait. Fine ster­ling sil­ver jew­el­ry 875, 830 and 800 will dark­en over time because it con­tains more oth­er met­als that oxi­dize when exposed to air.
White gold does not occur in nature at all. This is a trade­mark designed to stim­u­late the pur­chase of prod­ucts made of cold-col­ored met­als. It is obtained by com­bin­ing yel­low gold with steel, pal­la­di­um, nick­el or plat­inum. It is their per­cent­age that deter­mines the inten­si­ty and bright­ness of the col­or of the ore. The admix­ture of any of the above met­als makes white gold very durable. This ore is often coat­ed with a lay­er of rhodi­um, which gives it the appro­pri­ate col­or and elim­i­nates the gold­en sheen.

How to distinguish silver from white gold

How to distinguish silver from white gold

In both cas­es, the jew­el­ry has a sil­very-white tint. Here are the main dif­fer­ences:

  • Dura­bil­i­ty — White gold is more durable and scratch resis­tant. Sil­ver is much soft­er and more prone to bend­ing, mak­ing it less durable. Pay atten­tion to the sur­face: any bumps, rough­ness, pro­tru­sions, illeg­i­ble sam­ples and marks should be of con­cern;
  • col­or — this test takes a lit­tle prac­tice and a keen eye, but sil­ver has a more unique look and col­or that is dif­fi­cult to repro­duce flaw­less­ly, so jew­el­ry made of arti­fi­cial sil­ver or stain­less steel, plat­inum or pal­la­di­um dif­fers in shade from sil­ver. Those made from real sil­ver are less shiny and have a cool­er col­or, some­times they can also be oxi­dized. The shade of white gold does not change even after many years of use, and sil­ver oxi­dizes over time under the influ­ence of air and dark­ens;
  • 925, 750, 333, 375, 500, 960, 999 are reserved for white gold, sil­ver is des­ig­nat­ed as 925, 875, 830, 800. Anoth­er way to mark 925 sil­ver jew­el­ry is to add to them the word “ster­ling”;
  • the weight. An elec­tron­ic counter is required for ver­i­fi­ca­tion. Fake sil­ver of good qual­i­ty has a weight fluc­tu­a­tion of less than 1 gram, and jew­el­ry scales have a read­ing grad­u­a­tion with an accu­ra­cy of 0.1 mg;
  • smell. Nat­ur­al sil­ver and white gold do not smell at all, so if you smell a sub­tle metal­lic smell, you are deal­ing with jew­el­ry made from less valu­able met­als such as cop­per, zinc or pewter;
  • price — sil­ver is cheap­er than white gold. If the cost of jew­el­ry is very low, this should alert. The price of jew­el­ry can depend on var­i­ous fac­tors, includ­ing the size of the jew­el­ry and the pres­ence of pre­cious stones in it. If it is much cheap­er, it can be made from sur­gi­cal steel or an alloy of cheap­er met­als.

Dif­fer­ent coun­tries use dif­fer­ent signs. Jew­el­ery weigh­ing less than 10 grams is not sub­ject to brand­ing. They are usu­al­ly marked “MET”, which means that the item is made of base met­al and is defined as a lay­er of sil­ver plat­ing.

How to distinguish silver from a fake at home

How to distinguish silver from a fake at home

To be sure of the actu­al sil­ver con­tent, run tests that require minor dam­age to the prod­uct.
How to dis­tin­guish a sil­ver prod­uct from met­al jew­el­ry — you just need to file or scratch the top lay­er with a nee­dle and see what is under it. If the mate­r­i­al is yel­low­ish or very dif­fer­ent in col­or, it is clear­ly not sil­ver.

If the col­or under the treat­ed lay­er is sil­ver, you should check the sil­ver with iodine. You just need to drip on the sur­face of the dec­o­ra­tion. If the shade does not change or a light coat­ing forms on it, the film is a fake. Real sil­ver will dark­en. You can also check the authen­tic­i­ty of sil­ver with a mate­r­i­al such as chalk. It should leave dark marks from inter­ac­tion with this met­al.

One of the most reli­able ways is how to test sil­ver by attrac­tion to a mag­net. He usu­al­ly does not react to sil­ver and gold items. But if they are made of base met­als that imi­tate sil­ver or gold, or have a low con­tent of sil­ver or gold, they will be attract­ed to the mag­net.

To dis­tin­guish 925 ster­ling sil­ver jew­el­ry from stain­less steel, you need to use a sub­stance such as vine­gar. To do this, put the prod­uct in a con­tain­er with vine­gar. If the gloss dis­ap­pears or the sur­face col­or changes, it is a fake.

You can dis­tin­guish sil­ver from alu­minum with the help of some soft cloth if you rub the prod­uct with it. If dark­er streaks appear on the fab­ric, it is real­ly sil­ver.

Anoth­er option on how to dis­tin­guish real sil­ver from prod­ucts made from oth­er met­als is to pour over boil­ing water or dip it into boil­ing water. A gen­uine jew­el will instant­ly heat up, like sil­ver spoons that inter­fere with sug­ar in tea. But it is not rec­om­mend­ed to low­er jew­el­ry with nat­ur­al min­er­als into boil­ing water. This can spoil their appear­ance and strength prop­er­ties.

A vari­ety of jew­el­ry is also made from cupron­ick­el: rings, bracelets, ear­rings, pen­dants with gold and sil­ver, with inserts of gems or glass. Some­times it is very dif­fi­cult to dis­tin­guish sil­ver items from cupron­ick­el, such a sign as a sam­ple will help with this. The com­po­si­tion of cupron­ick­el is indi­cat­ed by the abbre­vi­a­tion “MSK”. You can also do the famous test of Archimedes. This method is based on the phys­i­cal prop­er­ties of pre­cious met­als. Its advan­tage is that it does not require any com­plex tools. If you know the weight and dimen­sions of a piece of jew­el­ry, a bul­lion, or a sil­ver coin, all you need is a ves­sel of water and a weight to test the den­si­ty. You can take a reg­u­lar glass of water. We need to cal­cu­late its vol­ume. The result obtained is mul­ti­plied by the height of the ves­sel, the radius of its base squared and the Pi num­ber (3.14). Then you need to place a sil­ver jew­el­ry in a ves­sel with water and check how much water has risen. Record the result in cm3. It remains to divide the mass of water by its vol­ume. If the val­ue obtained is about 10.5 g / cm3, then we are deal­ing with real sil­ver.

If home reme­dies do not give 100% cer­tain­ty, con­tact jew­el­ers in pro­fes­sion­al work­shops. They have the appro­pri­ate equip­ment and thanks to this they can clear­ly deter­mine the authen­tic­i­ty of sil­ver — acid reagents, x‑rays and ultra­sound. How­ev­er, these more advanced tech­nolo­gies are much more expen­sive, and their appli­ca­tion increas­es the cost of the prod­uct. There­fore, it is best to make pur­chas­es in ver­i­fied places where the sell­er offers cer­ti­fied goods and is able to present the nec­es­sary doc­u­ments upon request.

The choice between white gold, sil­ver and cheap jew­el­ry made from its alloys is an indi­vid­ual mat­ter. Both met­als will appeal to lovers of ele­gant acces­sories in a cool shade. If you want a more noble and durable mate­r­i­al, give pref­er­ence to white gold. If you often change jew­el­ry and choose acces­sories because of the low price, pay atten­tion to time­less sil­ver.

Buy­ing prod­ucts in the Sil­vers online store, you can be sure of their dura­bil­i­ty. We work direct­ly with man­u­fac­tur­ers and give each buy­er the oppor­tu­ni­ty to choose acces­sories that match his taste and bud­get. On our site we offer only high-qual­i­ty sil­ver and gold jew­el­ry. In the descrip­tion of each prod­uct there is infor­ma­tion about the sam­ple of gold or sil­ver, weight and dimen­sions. Thanks to this, you will acquire acces­sories that will last for many years and will become a real dec­o­ra­tion of your image or a beau­ti­ful gift for your loved one.


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