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How To Tell If Jewelry Is Real Silver

How To Tell If Jewelry Is Real Silver

How to tell If jewelry is real silver can be a valuable investment or a cherished keepsake, but it's important to know if the piece you're buying or already own is real silver.

If you're wondering if your "silver" jewelry or the piece you intend to buy is real? Then, you need to read this. Let's talk about how to know a piece of real silver jewelry and how to spot fake silver jewelry without stress.

Silver pieces of jewelry fall into 2 categories, the first being:

Pure Silver:

It is a Soft metal with a shiny and sleek element that has been utilized in jewelry, silver coins, utensils, and more.

Sterling Silver:

Most high-quality silver jewelry is sterling silver, but worry not- that's a whopping 92.5% purity at the very least. The remaining 7.5%, typically copper, is there for purposes of durability and strength.

  • A beautiful pair of stud earrings, sterling silver hoop earrings, or a simple ring can be shined to last a lifetime.
  • This handy guide will help you get maximum assurance that you're getting the real deal when it comes to your silver. Read On!
  • The rather Good news is, that there are many ways to tell if the silver item you're purchasing or adorning is authentic.

From at-home silver tests to the look, feel, and smell tests, you'll become an expert at determining silver content and identifying the fakes in no time. Some of these ways are.

The Signature .925 Imprint:

Do you remember that 92.5% we were talking about earlier, in the types of silver? Exactly, this is where it comes in.

  • Reputable jewelers love imprinting their jewelry with the .925 stamp to let wearers know that it's authentic.
  • You may not have even noticed, because the stamps are usually small and in discreet places.
  • Check the inside of your chain link necklace silver or the underside of a bracelet - or sometimes the side of a clasp. Does it have a teeny tiny .925? Then it's a real one!
  • Keep in mind that not every piece of real silver will have this marking, but a majority will. It's just one way to tell.

Your jewelry doesn't have a stamp? No panics, Keep reading.

a hand wearing a jewelry ring made in silver with a jaguar stamp

The Tarnish Rule

This can be very tricky!

  • If your sterling silver tarnishes, that's a sign that it's real.
  • Fake silver will lose its shine over time, and underneath can be any number of ugly cheap base metals that may turn your skin green.
  • No amount of polishing will return that original shiny tone.
  • On the contrary, real silver can be polished back to its original, sleek color, no matter how much time has passed.
  • Don't judge jewelry by its tarnish. If you see something with the potential to be beautiful, bring it home and give it a buff. You may have found a treasure.

N.B - Many luxury sterling silver designers are now adding a thick layer of rhodium (platinum family) to the sterling silver to prevent tarnish and preserve the shine. 

The Magnet Method

This test helps you spot fake jewelry!

  • If your jewelry is connecting to magnetic surfaces, we hate to break it to you: that material just isn't silver.
  • Silver is not noticeably magnetic unlike its friends iron, nickel, cobalt, and the like.
  • Want to tell if your silver is real or fake on your next shopping spree? Bring a little magnet with you on your next market visit and test it right there.

The Acid Test

One of the surest ways to tell if your silver is real or not is by performing a simple acid test.

  • Preferably, do this at your local jewelry store before purchase but with the consent of the store attendant.
  • In most cases, they'll offer to do the test on the spot. But If you don't have the time and would rather do it at home, order the proper solution and try it yourself and be sure to get the proper warranty policies in place before leaving the store.
  • Simply put a drop of acid is placed on the silver in question. If the acid changes color, certain hues indicate whether or not it's fake.
  • If the acid's color stays the same, you've landed on a true silver piece.
a hammered abstract jewelry ring made in silver

Here are answers to questions we've received oftentimes:

Q: How Can You Tell if Something is Made of Real Silver?

A: Look for small markings or stamps on the silver piece. Genuine silver will be stamped with .925 (sterling silver), 900, or 800. Most genuine silver jewelry will be marked with 925. 

Q: What if There is No Stamp or Marking?

A: Start by looking again. The stamp is often out of sight under a clasp, inside a ring, or underneath a design element. Verify the metals used with the company or store where the silver item was purchased. 

These at home should be enough to check the quality of your silver jewelry.

a jewelry chain link necklace made with solid silver

Jack Flowers, author

Jack Flowers is the Director of Global Operations at JewelryLab and manages global product quality control, customer support, and retail partnerships. Having processed thousands of orders over the past few years, he brings a unique insight into jewelry quality, care, and cleaning through direct customer feedback and recommendations.

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