Sterling silver is made from 92.5% percent silver and 7.5% other metals meaning it’s not pure silver. This kind of jewelry is beautiful, and if you don’t know what to look for, you’re not going to be able to notice the difference between pure silver jewelry, sterling silver, and fake silver. Pure silver isn’t 100% silver either. Since silver is a very soft and malleable metal, it can be hard to make stunning designs without mixing it with some other metals that will introduce a bit of hardness. That’s why pure silver jewelry is around 99.9% silver and a few other metals.
This silver is also known as 925 silver and it isn’t cheap either. It can be a good investment as its value rises with time. So, if you’re going to spend a good amount of money on it, you should be able to differentiate real 925 sterling silver jewelry from fakes.
1. Rub the jewelry with a soft, white cloth
As one of the main ways to detect the fake sterling silver ring, prjewel suggests rubbing it using a soft, white cloth. In case some black marks appear on the cloth, you can be certain that you’re dealing with a real 925 silver and not a fake. Once it oxidizes, real silver turns black.
2. Look for a stamp
Real sterling silver is stamped “.925,” or sometimes “sterling,” which means you’re looking at a 92.5% silver purity. If the piece of jewelry doesn’t have the stamp, then you can be certain it’s a fake. However, the stamp on its own isn’t a good enough proof that the jewelry is definitely made of sterling silver. You should still do other tests to be sure.
While the stamp on the ring is always on the side of the ring that touches the finger, bracelets are a bit more difficult to check. The stamp usually isn’t big and easily visible so make sure to look carefully, examining both the lobster claw and the first link of the chain as sometimes the lobster claw can be genuine silver, while the chain is fake.
3. Look for damages and signs of wear
Sometimes it’s easy to notice that the piece of jewelry isn’t genuine silver. When there are certain damages, the metal below the plating is usually showing letting you know that you’re dealing with fake silver. Even when it’s scratched, real silver will remain the same color, while just a platted piece of jewelry will reveal the color of the metal below the surface once it’s damaged which will usually be dark orange or brown.
4. Do the acid test
Nitric acid test can easily let you know whether the ring is real or fake. As you can’t always believe the stamp when you see it, further tests are necessary. You need to buy the acid which is something you can do online. To conduct the test, you need to scratch the item and apply a few drops of the acid on it. In case the liquid turns green, the item is only silver platted, not genuine silver. When the acid is applied on real silver the color of the liquid will be gray.
5. Magnet and ice cube test
The magnet test is rather simple to conduct. Place the magnet on the surface and see what happens. If the magnet simply slides off of the item, it is real silver. On the other hand, if the magnet sticks to it, the item is fake.
For the ice cube test, you only need two ice cubes. Place one on top of the item and one on the pan. If the ice melts faster on the item than on the pan, it’s genuine silver.
By simply looking very closely at the ring, you can typically see that it’s of the low quality and that should tell you right away that the item isn’t genuine silver.