Silver is one of the world’s most sought after metal because it doesn’t corrode or oxidize like other elements tend to do. It’s used in all kinds of products, from coins to utensils to electronics to jewelry. Silver is seen in all kinds of things you would not suspect.
When it comes to silver, we work with the high grade silver called among professionals 'Sterling Silver' in all BlackTreeLab jewelry. Many of customer ask 'Is sterling silver real silver?'
- Sterling Silver –Sterling silver jewelry is made up of 92.5 percent silver, with the other 7.5 percent being copper. Why copper? It can help bolster the jewelry’s strength and toughness.
If you plan to purchase jewelry, you want pieces made of high-quality material – something that will last. Don’t waste your money on cheap jewelry that loses its luster and shine and eventually breaks. However, in your quest for real silver, how can you know if the piece of jewelry you’re looking at is real or fake?
One option is to take the jewelry to a professional jeweler, but if this isn’t an option, six do-it-yourself tests can identify real silver jewelry from a fake one. What are the different silver tests?
Use Your Senses (Sight, Touch and Smell) - Recommended in-home method
One silver test uses just your senses – sight, smell and touch.
- Sight – Look the jewelry over. Is there any peeling? Does the color look distorted? Is the metal layered? If so, then the jewelry is not made of genuine silver.
- Smell – While it seems funny, smell the jewelry. Does it have a Sulphur-like smell or does it small unnatural in any way?
- Touch – Feel the jewelry over. Does it feel smooth or does it have a bumpy feel to it?
One thing to understand about silver jewelry is that it’s flexible and soft up to a point. If a piece of jewelry, claiming to be made of silver, doesn’t bend, then chances are it’s fake.
Ice Test - Recommended in-home method
Take a bowl of ice and place your jewelry on top of it. Of all metals, silver has a high thermal conductivity. Thus, genuine silver in a bowl will cause the ice to melt quickly (even if placed in room temperature). Talk about an interesting way of finding out if a piece of jewelry is genuine silver or fake.
Magnet Test - Recommended in-home method
One of the easiest ways to determine (in-store) if a piece of jewelry you like is silver is to bring a magnet and put the jewelry up to it. Metals like cobalt, iron, nickel and others are attracted to magnets whereas silver is not.
While the above DIY tests are great in determining silver quality, you may want something that offers more of a guarantee (however, being more risky). Remember, we do not recommend to use the below mentioned tests at home as they can completely destroy your jewelry. The tests are mentioned only to keep you aware of their existence.
Acid Test - For your awareness
One of the most common tests people will use to determine if a piece of silver jewelry actually contains silver is the acid test. The test can be conducted in a jewelry store or at home (not recommendable by BlackTreeLab).
If jewelry changes color after the acid test (a minute amount of the solution is fine), it means the piece is fake. If it doesn’t, then the jewelry is made of actual silver. What kind of acid can you use in this test? Vinegar.
How to test silver with vinegar? Make a small scratch in an inconspicuous place, pouring just a minute amount of the vinegar on that spot. Watch the piece, and if it changes color, the silver isn’t real.
Bear in mind that even though you can do this test at home, it’s best you don’t. If your acid solution is not configured correctly, it could actually lead to damage to your jewelry. Best to let a professional do the test.
Bleach Test - For your awareness
Bleach can also help you to identify if a piece of jewelry is real or fake. How so? Bleach, like other potent oxidizing agents, will tarnish jewelry. If you see the jewelry turning black, then it’s real silver. Be aware that some jewelry manufacturers will use silver to cover non-silver pieces.
You probably know how powerful bleach is, so putting it on jewelry can damage the quality. While you can do it, it’s best to avoid it.
When it comes to buying silver jewelry, you definitely don’t want to be taken for a ride. We recommend you only to use gentle methods at home - Use your Senses, Ice and Magnet Test. If you’re questioning the authenticity of silver jewelry at home, these tests can lay those concerns to rest. Remember, the rest of test (acid, vinegar or black tests) are mentioned only to get you know about their existence.