A silver jewel cannot be missing from your collection. Earrings, necklaces, rings, bracelets: silver is one of the most used metals and also one of the oldest used in jewelry. Furthermore, silver is also cheap compared to gold nowadays. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t imitated. Or, it can be used only as a light patina covering another, less noble metal. In short, how to recognize if your jewel is real silver?
There are several ways to recognize if a jewel is made of real silver:
1. Check if it has a brand
Genuine silver jewelery is often marked with hallmarks, which in jewelery is referred to as a hallmark. In the United States and most other countries, silver purity is indicated with initials such as 925 or sterling. These abbreviations indicate that the jewels are made with 92.5% pure silver. But abbreviations can also be used. In Italy, for example, there is also Arg. indicating the word silver. The hallmark is usually located inside the jewel, in an inconspicuous position.
2. Perform the magnet test
Unlike gold, silver is weakly magnetic. But if a piece of jewelry is strongly attracted to a magnet it means that it is not made of real silver, but could be made of some other metal, such as steel or iron, which are strongly magnetic.
3. Nitric acid test
This test can determine the purity of silver. A small scratch is made on the jewelry and it is wetted with a drop of nitric acid. The color of the scratch after the acid has been applied will indicate the purity of the silver. However, this test can damage your jewelry, so it should only be done by a trained professional.
4. Bleach test
Genuine silver jewelry should tarnish if it comes into contact with bleach. Apply a drop of bleach to an inconspicuous area of the jewelry to find out if it tarnishes.
5. Skin test
Silver jewelery does not cause skin reactions or discoloration. A possible skin reaction can also indicate if the jewelery is made of pure silver. However, keep in mind that some people may have allergic reactions to other metals, such as nickel, which may be present in jewellery. As we wrote before, a 92.5% silver jewel means that, in any case, the alloy is composed of 7.5% of other metals, very often copper. Pure silver is not used in jewellery, but is sold on the market in bullion. An ingot of pure silver is defined as 999/1000, because it is composed of 99.9% silver.