Silver accessories are available to everyone these days, but they are often forged, nonetheless. To tell a precious metal from a low-quality alloy, try one of the following methods. Or a few at once.
- First rule, the rule of thumb, really, is checking the item for a marking. The absence of a platemark is a good reason to doubt the authenticity of the ring displayed to you. Even handmade designer accessories are
normally marked by the assay chamber; however, not all jewellers are conscientious enough to do it, while others entertain no illusions (unlike their unlucky clients) regarding the cheap alloy they mispresent as silver.
- Accessories and other items produced in Russia are marked with 960,925,875,830, and 800 platemarks. Each of them signifies the percentage of silver in the composition of the material used for an item; for example, 830 platemark means that a ring or a brooch contains more than 83% of a precious metal. Odd platemarks should be interpreted as follows: 875 — 87,5%.
- There are different alloys in different countries. You may see accessories marked with other numerical or letter platemarks abroad. If you come across such markings as sterling, ster, silver, and s/s while buying an accessory in a jewellery salon, you have nothing to worry about. 925-marked silver is called sterling.
- SOKOLOV places a S925 logo on its items; it guarantees that the item was manufacture in the SOKOLOV company (S) and that it contains no less than 92.5% of silver in its composition (925).More experienced people may pay attention to brand platemarks, as a brand letter or symbol is often used. For example, silver items manufactured in the USSR would be marked with a five-pointed star, while English antiques sometimes have a leopard rising a paw on them.
- Real pure silver is distinguished by high heat passage, which is higher in it than in other metals. In other words, the higher the number on an item’s platemark, the faster it heats up. A test with a cupronickel and a silver spoon is rather demonstrative, the latter one will warm up faster.
- Pure silver has yet another distinct feature, it reflects light. If you place a silver item and one made of a non-precious metal next to each other, the first one will shine brighter.
- If you are lucky to have a good ear, toss a silver item up a little so that it lands on a hard and even surface; the sound of a precious metal should be thin, bright, and a little vibrating, not completely dull.
- The most reliable method is still taking a silver item to a professional jeweller who will surely be able to determine its authenticity. It is not recommended that you torture a supposedly silver accessory with iodine or azotic acid, since it might damage or mark the item.
- Checking the help of a simple magnet is a fairly popular but non-working option. Silver indeed is a diamagnet, but it is impossible to determine the presence of lead, copper, and cadmium in the composition, for these metals are also not drawn by a magnet; all that you will be able to find out is the presence of a certain amount of iron and nickel additives.
- Do you have a lot of silver accessories? Tell us what you keep in your precious jewellery-box!