Spotting fake sterling silver is not difficult at all once you learn how to do it properly. To the untrained eye, fake silver may pass for the real deal, but once you learn how to spot the fakes, nothing will get by you. They can be a beautiful addition to any jewelry collection, and it is a highly desirable precious metal. If you don’t know how to tell if your pieces are real, you may find yourself out of a lot of money one day if you fall for buying an imposter.
Spotting a Fake: Knowing the Difference
Sterling silver has become very popular in recent years, and countless items have been made from the precious metal, from jewelry to flatware and everything in between. The difference between pure silver and sterling silver is the strength of the metal. Pure silver is very soft, and products made from it can warp or break easily. Sterling silver is stronger – it’s a mix of silver and other metals that are more durable, such as nickel or copper.
There are specific requirements set forth by metallurgists for an item to be considered sterling silver. To be classified as sterling, an item must be comprised of 9.25 pure silver in addition to the alloy composition. The remainder of the item should be made of other metals that add an extra layer of strength to the silver alloy. The jewelry is typically made this way, and the silver is an overlay that coats the stronger metal underneath.
Spotting a Fake: Knowing What to Look For
The biggest obstacle in spotting fakes are not knowing exactly what to look for when examining a piece. A good indicator is if the item simply looks “cheap” and has a flimsy quality to it. It’s also usually sold very inexpensively – a good tip off that it’s not the real thing. It’s actually easier to spot the real thing than it is to pick out fakes. This is because there is typically a stamp on sterling silver that indicates its authenticity.
Another method of spotting a fake is to conduct an acid test. Using nitric acid is perhaps that most accurate way to test your silver. After you dip the item in the acid, the resulting color of the liquid will give you a good indication of what kind of silver it is. For example, the silver will turn green if it’s fake, and a cloudy gray color will appear if it is real. This is an easy and inexpensive test you can do to see if you are dealing with a fake.
One of the most recognized ways to learn more is to visit a certified jeweler. This is especially true if you plan to buy jewelry from an individual instead of a retail establishment. Make sure to verify that the jeweler has the proper credentials before you arrive with your precious ornaments. You certainty don’t want to spend your hard-earned money on something that’s not real. Spotting fake sterling silver gets easier over time. In fact, once you have a trained eye, the process will become easy and it will only take minutes.