Since it's not practical to use genuine silver due to its softness, it's blended with other durable metals like copper, zinc and nickel. This alloy of silver and metal is called Sterling silver. it's also called 925 silver, as sterling silver has 92.5% of silver content and only 7.5% of non-silver metals. Therefore. A piece of jewelry to qualify as sterling silver, it should contain at least ‘925’. Pure silver. Sometimes some jewelry will be made of some other metal coated with a layer of sterling silver. This is called silver plating. Sometimes these pieces of jewelry are marketed as sterling silver. We can avoid making a mistake by remembering to look for some signs that'll prove or disprove the authenticity of the jewelry.
Does it bear the mark?
You can identify authentic sterling silver by looking for a mark on the jewelry. The law states that authentic sterling silver must be marked ‘Sterling’. ‘925’. This engraving is done when the genuine silver is crafted and is typically engraved on the clasp of necklaces or inside of a silver ring or silver bracelet. If the authenticating mark isn't present, the chance that it's genuine is extremely rare.
Is the too bright or worn off?
Examine the coloring of the item very closely. Silver plated jewelry is generally shinier and warmer in tone than genuine silver. If it shines too much or you see parts of the jewelry where the silver looks like it's worn off, the piece of jewelry is possibly silver plated and not authentic.
Does it rub off right?
Authentic silver gets oxidized and tarnishes when kept in open air. Using a light-colored and soft piece of cloth, rub the surface of the item. If you find black marks on the cloth, then the item is very possibly authentic.
Will it survive the acid test?
Take the piece of jewelry to the jewelry shop and ask them to test it by applying nitric acid to a non-conspicuous spot. The acid will discolor unauthentic silver due to the high content of copper and will leave a permanent green spot. This is a sure test for silver-plating and for disproving authenticity.
To be completely sure, make sure you purchase your sterling silver from a trusted source like a neighborhood jeweler or a reliable online jewelry retailer. Also try to check out the reputation of the jeweler by asking friends, family and acquaintances. Trusted jewelers can appraise any piece of jewelry, like a silver bracelet or silver ring, you currently own. Tell you if they're fake or not.
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